Maryland governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Baltimore Monday (April 27) evening. Hogan also activated the National Guard to respond to the violence that has erupted between protestors and police in the wake of Freddie Gray’s funeral.
“Having been advised and informed by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency there may be a need to take protective actions to protect the lives and property of citizens being currently impacted by this public emergency,” read the declaration of emergency.
According to The Washington Post, protestors have been tossing rocks and bricks at officers, damaging police cruisers. Seven officers have reportedly been hurt, including some with broken bones.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced at a press conference that the city would impose a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Tuesday night. The curfew, meant to deter further destruction of property, would last for at least one week.
“Too many people have spent generations building up this city, for it to be destroyed by thugs who in a very senseless way are trying to tear down what so many have fought for,” she said. “It is very clear there is a difference between what we saw over the past week, with the peaceful protests, those who wish to seek justice, those who wish to be heard and want answers — a difference between those protests and the thugs who only want to incite violence and destroy our city.”
The unrest, which is a stark reminder of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri last year, began after it was determined that Gray did not receive timely medical care after he was arrested and was not buckled into a seat belt during transport in a police van.
Until protestors feel that there is an end to the stonewalling of the investigation into Gray’s death, the threat of continued violence will linger.
“It is heart-wrenching, but it is something that we have been anticipating,” said Rev. Duane Simmons, pastor of Simmons Memorial Baptist Church. “People are frustrated. It is like a rat who has been backed into a corner. These folks have had enough.”
The situation has already caught the attention of new Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who updated President Barack Obama after being sworn in.