Odisha News Insight

Baltimore Mayor lifts City-Wide Curfew

baltimore riotsBaltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has lifted a city-wide curfew which had been in effect since Tuesday.

“Effective immediately, I have rescinded my order instituting a city-wide curfew,” Rawlings-Blake announced via her twitter account on Sunday.

Protests for the death of African-American man Freddie Gray, culminated in rioting and looting late on Monday as hundreds of rioters in northwest Baltimore looted stores and confronted police force with bricks, hours after the funeral of the 25-year-old who passed away on April 19 after being severely injured a week earlier during police arrest.

According to Baltimore police, up to 144 cars and 15 structures were set ablaze Monday night, with stores in the area being looted.

As looters continued to break into business and set cars on fire, Mayor Rawlings-Blake announced curfew on Monday evening, starting from 10 p.m. on April 28 to 5 a.m. on May 4, “unless renewed or rescinded by order of the Mayor.”

Baltimore officials had previously planned to keep the week-long 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. curfew in place through Sunday. However, protests since Monday’s rioting have been peaceful and the state prosecutor’s decision to charge the six officers involved in Gray’ s death on Friday also helped ease tensions in the city.

“My goal has always been to not have the curfew in place a single day longer than was necessary. I believe we have reached that point today,” Rawlings-Blake said on Twitter.

In an surprising announcement on Friday morning, Maryland state attorney for Baltimore City Marilyn Mosby said charges would be filed against all six Baltimore police officers involved in Gray’s death, which was ruled by medical examiner as a homicide.

Baltimore officials, including Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, both African-Americans, had earlier tried to play down the public’s expectation that any charges against the six police officers would be presented Friday.

“Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD (Baltimore Police Department) wagon,” Mosby said. “We have probable cause to file criminal charges.”

Friday’s charges included a second-degree depraved-heart murder against a police van driver officer Caesar Goodson, who, according to the state prosecutor, ignored Gray’s pleading for medical assistance at least on two occasions during transportation.

On one of the stops, according to Mosby, Gray “requested help and indicated that he could not breath” as officers were checking his status. Upon arrival at a police station, Gray was no longer breathing, said Mosby.

The charges would still need approval by a grand jury for an official indictment. In Ferguson and New York last year, local grand juries decided against indicting officers who were involved in the deaths of two unarmed black men. The decisions triggered protests nationwide.

Meanwhile, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on Sunday told reporters that the withdrawal of National Guard, who were summoned to Baltimore after Monday’s rioting, began Sunday morning. (IANS)

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