Uneasy calm in Baltimore as questions remain
Published 30/04/2015 | 02:30
Reeling from its worst civil unrest in decades, Baltimore found a semblance of calm yesterday as residents await an official account of the death of a 25-year-old black man that set off rioting.
Beyond seeking answers to the fate of Freddie Gray - who died after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody - citizens highlighted the need to reform policing practices in the largely black city.
Baltimore is the latest flashpoint in the reignited debate about race relations in the US, stoked by the deaths of black men over the past year at the hands of police in New York, Ferguson, Missouri; Cleveland, Ohio, and elsewhere.
With police and National Guard troops patrolling Baltimore's streets, schools reopened and business resumed in the city of 620,000 two days after rioting, looting and arson that injured 20 officers and led to 250 arrests. A week-long curfew that began Tuesday helped police thwart violence.
Baltimore's Major League Baseball team, the Orioles, played the Chicago White Sox in an empty stadium, a sign of the tenuous security situation.
In the relative calm, residents in the most affected neighbourhoods vented their frustration with police.
"The police have a gang mentality, they are above the law and that's the problem," said Timothy O'Donnell, a former gang member and part-time student from West Baltimore, where Gray was from.