Team Obama To Respond To Baltimore Rioting; Requests Law Enforcement Restraint

A man walks past a burning police vehicle, Monday, April 27, 2015, during unrest following the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

As the rioting grew fiercer in Baltimore following the funeral of Freddy Gray on Monday, the Obama administration issued statements vowing to end the violence.

Shortly after 5:00 p.m., President Obama met with newly sworn in Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Oval Office and received an update on the situation in Baltimore. Reporters were blocked from the meeting, which was not on Obama’s public schedule, but photographers were allowed in briefly to take pictures.

As the violence escalated, the White House released a readout of the conversation by 6:30 p.m., noting that Lynch updated Obama on the events occurring in Baltimore and promised to continue monitoring events.

The readout also noted that Obama had spoken with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

“The President highlighted the Administration’s commitment to provide assistance as needed and will continue to receive updates on the situation from Attorney General Lynch and White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett,” the White House explained, adding that Jarrett had spoken with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan earlier in the day.

Jarrett also spoke with Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland, from Baltimore, about the situation, according to reports.

By 9:00 p.m., as fires were breaking out across the city, Hogan revealed during a press conference that that Obama called to thank him for declaring a state of emergency in response to the rioting and asked him to exercise “due restraint.”

“I assured him that we were,” Hogan explained to the press. “The last thing we want to do is escalate violence. I assured him we would not stand by and allow our city of Baltimore to be taken over by thugs.”

Hogan also indicated that Obama revealed that Lynch would visit Baltimore to help de-escalate the violence.

“He said that we need to get control of our streets, and he endorsed the action taken tonight,” Hogan explained.

White House officials confirmed to reporters that Obama spoke to Hogan this evening, but declined to share any details of the conversation.

By 9:00 p.m., Lynch also released a lengthy statement condemning the “senseless acts of violence” in Baltimore vowing that the Justice Department “stands ready to provide any assistance that might be helpful.”

“As our investigative process continues, I strongly urge every member of the Baltimore community to adhere to the principles of nonviolence,” she said, promising to work with Baltimore leaders to “protect the security and civil rights of all residents.”

“I will bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing, and securing an end to violence,” she added.


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