Monday 26 September 2016

Uneasy calm in Baltimore as questions remain

Amanda Lee Myers in Baltimore

Published 30/04/2015 | 02:30

Daquan Green (17) sits on the curb while riot police stand guard near the pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray. Photo: Getty Images
Daquan Green (17) sits on the curb while riot police stand guard near the pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray. Photo: Getty Images
Protesters with Freddie Gray signs
Protesters gesture at police shortly before the curfew began
National guard members take a position at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 29, 2015.

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.

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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.

Irish Independent

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