BALTIMORE (AP) — Police in Baltimore say they made more than a dozen arrests of protesters who marched by the hundreds through the city to protest the death of George Floyd.
City leaders had pleaded for calm Saturday, seeking to avoid the violence that pervaded protests in the city five years ago in response to the in-custody death of Freddie Gray.
The city largely avoided the large-scale violence that gripped some other cities across the nation, though some buildings downtown were damaged and fires were set Saturday.
“We were a national example of what it looks like to engage in passionate protesting without widespread breaking of the law,” said Baltimore Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young at a Sunday news briefing.
Still, there were issues. Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said 12 adults and two juveniles were arrested Saturday night on charges including burglary and attempting arson. He also said police would step up to protect reporters and investigate an assault on a TV crew from WBFF-TV, the city’s Fox affiliate, in which reporters were pushed, chased and had some of the equipment stolen and destroyed.
At City Hall, where police formed a protective barricade, someone flung a shopping cart at officers in the barricade.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Baltimore’s experience from the Freddie Gray protests shows the importance of allowing peaceful protest while stepping in quickly to deter violence.
“Our theory was kind of peace through strength. We did not let it escalate to violence, where crowds were overpowering police,” he said. “But we separated the violent acts and the destructive acts from the peaceful protesting. And we tried to get in there and communicate with the citizens.”
Hogan, a Republican, said it’s important to not to exacerbate the situation with inflammatory rhetoric, and he criticized President Donald Trump for saying on Twitter that looting would be met with shooting.
“That’s not helpful. It’s not lowering the temperature,” Hogan said. “It’s sort of continuing to escalate the rhetoric. And I think it’s just the opposite of the message that should have been coming out of the White House.”
Baltimore was just one of many cities across the country that saw protests in response to Floyd’s death. Floyd’s arrest was caught on camera and he could be heard saying “I can’t breathe” while a white officer, Derek Chauvin, held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
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