Baltimore Riots – Playing Into The Hands Of The Enemy

Ok so I thought I would give you an insight to the riots that are occurring now in 2015 and the riots that occurred in 1968. Nothing is new under the sun.

1968 Baltimore riots:

Damage_to_a_store_following_the_riots_in_Washington,_D.C.,_April_16,_1968

Black Baltimorean’s rioted from April 6 to April 14, 1968. The riot included crowds filling the streets, burning and looting local businesses, and confronting the police and national guard.

The immediate cause of the rioting was the April 4 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, which triggered riots in 125 cities across the United States. These events are sometimes described as the Holy Week Uprising.

At a press conference in the evening, the mayor announced there would be a citywide curfew of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting April 28. Neighboring Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties cancelled school field trips and activities scheduled in Baltimore City until May 3. Officials also announced that Baltimore’s city schools would be closed on Tuesday.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, and activated the Maryland National Guard. Major General Linda Singh of the Maryland National Guard commented that there would be a “massive number” of soldiers in Maryland on the night of April 27, and that up to 5,000 soldiers could be deployed. Maryland State Police activated 500 officers for duty in Baltimore, and requested an additional 5,000 state police officers from other states.

martin-luther-king-riots

The Los Angeles Police Department ordered officers to ride in pairs when in cars after Baltimore police determined there was a “credible threat” of gang violence against police officers across the country, claiming that the Black Guerrilla Family, the Bloods, and the Crips were “teaming up” to target police officers. Later, however, leaders of both gangs denied the allegations, released a video statement asking for calm and peaceful protest in the area, and joined with police and clergy to enforce the curfew.

When asked about game postponement, Baltimore Orioles chief operating officer John P. Angelos said,

My greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy … is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships … plunged tens of millions of good hard-working Americans into economic devastation and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state. The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, an ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importance of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever….

Leffler_-1968_WashingtonDC_MLK_riots

Spiro T. Agnew, the Governor of Maryland, called out thousands of National Guard troops and 500 Maryland State Police to quell the disturbance. When it was determined that the state forces could not control the riot, Agnew requested Federal troops from President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Between World War II and 1968, Baltimore had changed demographically. The total population remained constant, but the black population had grown and the white population shrunk (both by about 200,000). These whites had left the city in favor of Baltimore County. Black communities had sub-par housing, high rates of infant mortality, and more crime. They also suffered disproportionately from the decline in Baltimore’s manufacturing sector. Black unemployment was more than double the national rate, and even higher in especially poor communities. Those who did have jobs were paid less and worked in unsafe conditions.

With the spread of civil disturbances across the nation, Maryland National Guard troops were called up for state duty on April 5, 1968, in anticipation of disturbances in Baltimore or the suburban portions of Maryland bordering Washington, DC.

Black Baltimore was quiet on April 5, despite rioting in nearby Washington, D.C.. One white student at UMBC reported a quiet scene, with noticeable sadness, but little violence or unrest: April 5, “in many cases, was just another day”.

Baltimore remained peaceful into the day on April 6. Three hundred people gathered peacefully around noon for a memorial service, which lasted until 2 pm without incident. Street traffic began to increase. A crowd formed on Gay St. in East Baltimore, and by 5 pm some windows on the 400 block had been smashed. Police began to move in. People began to report fires after 6 pm. Soon after, the city declared an 11 pm curfew and called in 6000 troops from the national guard. Sales of alcohol and firearms were immediately banned. At this point, some reports described about a thousand people in the crowd, which moved north on Gay St. up to Harford Rd. and Greenmount Ave. Mayor Thomas L. J. D’Alesandro III was unable to respond effectively. Around 8 pm, Governor Agnew declared a state of emergency.

By the morning of April 7, reports to the White House described five deaths, 300 fires, and 404 arrests. Rioting also broke out on Pennsylvania Ave in West Baltimore. At one point, a mob of white counter-rioters assembled near Patterson Park; they dispersed after National Guard troops prevented them from entering a black neighborhood.

Violence decreased after April 9, and the Baltimore Orioles played their opening game the next day, though the April 12 James Brown concert remained cancelled. On the afternoon of April 9, federal troops dispersed crowds at a permitted peace rally, apparently unaware that General Gelston had issued a permit for the event. The situation was diffused by Major William “Box” Harris, the highest-ranking police officer in the city.

When rioting broke out in Baltimore on April 6, nearly the entire Maryland National Guard, both Army and Air, were called up to deal with the unrest. The notable exceptions were the state’s air defense units (which manned surface-to-air missile sites around the state), those units already on duty in the Washington, DC area, and a unit positioned in Cambridge, Maryland (the site of race riots in 1963 and 1967). The Adjutant General of Maryland, Major General George M. Gelston, commanded the National Guard force and also was given control of the city and state police forces in the city (approximately 1,900 police officers).

The combined National Guard and police force proved unable to contain the rioting and on Sunday, April 7, federal troops were requested. Late that evening, elements of the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina began arriving on the scene, while several Marine units from Camp Lejeune were put on standby status. With the intervention of federal forces, the Maryland National Guard was called into federal duty, resulting in a shift from state control (reporting to the Governor of Maryland) to federal control (reporting through the Army chain of command to the President). The federal force, Task Force Baltimore, was organized into three brigades and a reserve. These were (roughly), the XVIII Airborne Corps troops, the Maryland National Guard, and troops from the 197th Infantry Brigade from Fort Benning, Georgia (which arrived two days later). The 1,300 troops of the Maryland Air National Guard were organized in a provisional battalion and used to guard critical infrastructure throughout the city, as well as an ad hoc detention facility at the Baltimore Civic Center. Task Force Baltimore peaked at 11,570 Army and National Guard troops on April 9, of which all but about 500 were committed to riot control duties.

Rioting continued for several days as the Task Force sought to reassert control. Early on April 12, federal troops began to depart and by 6 pm that evening responsibility for riot control returned to the National Guard. At midnight Task Force Baltimore ceased to exist and the remainder of federal troops were withdrawn. Maryland National Guard troops remained on duty in the city until April 14, when Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew declared the emergency over and sent them home.

After action reports credited both the National Guard and active Army forces for being extremely disciplined and restrained in dealing with the disturbance, with only four shots fired by National Guard troops and two by active Army troops. These forces had received orders to avoid firing their weapons, as part of an intentional strategy to decrease fatalities.

A total of 10,956 troops had been deployed.

 

2015 Baltimore Riots:

2015-04-28t005951z1lynxmpeb3r00irtroptp4usa-police-baltimore

Protestors began rioting in Baltimore, the largest city in the American state of Maryland, starting April 27, 2015, in reaction to the April 19 death of Freddie Gray. Gray, a 25-year-old African-American resident of the city, died in police custody a week after being arrested. Apparently in good health at the time of his arrest, Gray later sustained injuries to his spine and larynx. The cause and circumstances of his injuries have not been officially determined. Gray fell into a coma on April 12, and despite multiple surgical attempts, he never regained consciousness and died a week later. Six police officers have been suspended pending an investigation.

Peaceful protests were organized after his death, and apparently spontaneous protests started after the funeral service, although they eventually became marred with civil unrest and violence. As of April 28, at least twenty police officers have been injured, at least 250 people have been arrested, thousands of police and National Guard troops have been deployed, and a state of emergency was declared in the city of Baltimore

April 25

On April 25, 2015, protests were organized in downtown Baltimore. Protesters marched from the Baltimore City Hall to Inner Harbor. After the final stage of the official protest event, some protesters became violent. They damaged at least five police vehicles, and “pelted” police with rocks.

During a press conference, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said most protesters were respectful but a “small group of agitators intervened”.  She also stated that “It’s a very delicate balancing act. Because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate.” The phrase “we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well” was interpreted by some conservative-leaning news sources as an indication that the mayor was giving permission to protesters to destroy property, while some others, including Breitbart News Network, pointed out that “when you look at the full context, it’s clear the Mayor meant something different (though it’s also true she didn’t say it very clearly).”

Suspect Dies Baltimore

Two days later, the mayor’s Director of Strategic Planning and Policy, Howard Libit, released a statement clarifying the mayor’s remarks:

What she is saying within this statement was that there was an effort to give the peaceful demonstrators room to conduct their peaceful protests on Saturday. Unfortunately, as a result of providing the peaceful demonstrators with the space to share their message, that also meant that those seeking to incite violence also had the space to operate. The police sought to balance the rights of the peaceful demonstrators against the need to step in against those who were seeking to create violence.

The mayor is not saying that she asked police to give space to people who sought to create violence. Any suggestion otherwise would be a misinterpretation of her statement.

At least 34 people were arrested during the riots, and six police officers were injured. As a result of the groups of violent protesters, individuals attending the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox baseball game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards were asked to stay at the stadium for their safety.

J.M. Giordano, a photographer for Baltimore City Paper, was taking pictures of the protest when he was “swarmed” and beaten by two police officers in riot gear. Sait Serkan Gurbuz, a Reuters photographer with visible press credentials, who filmed the beating from a public sidewalk, was detained and taken away in the police van. He was later released and cited for disorderly conduct. Thereafter, City Paper published a video on its website documenting the violence.

A photograph of the April 25 rioters standing on a Baltimore police car was superimposed with the text “All HighSchools Monday @3 We Are Going To Purge From Mondawmin To The Ave, Back To Downtown #Fdl” (“Purge” being a reference to the film series) and distributed on social media and as flyers.

April 27

Freddie Gray was laid to rest at a peaceful service at the New Shiloh Baptist Church on April 27 at 11 a.m. after a one-hour public viewing. A large attendance included civil rights leaders, families of other people killed by police, and politicians including Congressman Elijah Cummings, Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson, White House adviser Heather Foster, and Elias Alcantara of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

At 2 p.m., the University of Maryland Baltimore closed its campus, citing a police warning regarding “activities (that) may be potentially violent and UMB could be in the path of any violence.”

 

At 3 p.m., the “purge” called for on social media began at Mondawmin Mall, where police in riot gear awaited 75-100 people who appeared to be high school students, who began throwing bricks and bottles at them. The violence rapidly spread, and by later that day two patrol cars were destroyed and fifteen officers were injured. A police cruiser was destroyed, and some officers suffered broken bones. A CVS Pharmacy location in downtown Baltimore was looted and burned by protestors. In reaction to the unrest, several places within the city closed early, including the University of Maryland campus in downtown Baltimore, Baltimore City Community College, Coppin State University, the Lexington Market, the National Aquarium, the Enoch Pratt Free Library system, and the Mondawmin Mall.

A Baltimore Orioles baseball game against the Chicago White Sox scheduled for the evening at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the first of a three-game series, was also postponed due to the unrest.

April 28

At about 6:00 a.m., Baltimore television showed firefighters putting out fires and residents cleaning up after the overnight rioting. National Guard transport vehicles arrived in Baltimore to provide security to vital infrastructure and to give additional support to police. At about 7:35 a.m., the Baltimore mayor’s office reported that there were 144 vehicle fires, 19 structural fires, and nearly 200 arrests. One person has been badly hurt due to an arson.

The Baltimore Ravens cancelled their NFL Draft Party in response to the protests. After consulting with Major League Baseball, the Orioles announced that their second game against the White Sox would also be postponed, and that their game on April 29 would be played in the afternoon and closed to the public. This is believed to be the first such game in Major League Baseball history (it is occasionally seen in soccer) and thus set the record for lowest paid attendance (previously 6, set in 1882). The two cancelled games will be made up as a doubleheader on May 28. The team also announced that its May 1–3 series against the Tampa Bay Rays would be moved from Camden Yards to Tropicana Field.

At a press conference in the evening, the mayor announced there would be a citywide curfew of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting April 28. Neighboring Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties cancelled school field trips and activities scheduled in Baltimore City until May 3. Officials also announced that Baltimore’s city schools would be closed on Tuesday.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, and activated the Maryland National Guard. Major General Linda Singh of the Maryland National Guard commented that there would be a “massive number” of soldiers in Maryland on the night of April 27, and that up to 5,000 soldiers could be deployed. Maryland State Police activated 500 officers for duty in Baltimore, and requested an additional 5,000 state police officers from other states.

On April 28, President Barack Obama strongly condemned the violence during a White House press conference saying, “There’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive. … When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing. When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson. And they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities. That robs jobs and opportunity from people in that area.” Obama went on to applaud the actions of peaceful protesters whom he felt were being undermined by the violence, and called upon the nation to take meaningful action to collectively solve poverty and law enforcement issues fueling what he described “a crisis.”

The Los Angeles Police Department ordered officers to ride in pairs when in cars after Baltimore police determined there was a “credible threat” of gang violence against police officers across the country, claiming that the Black Guerrilla Family, the Bloods, and the Crips were “teaming up” to target police officers. Later, however, leaders of both gangs denied the allegations, released a video statement asking for calm and peaceful protest in the area, and joined with police and clergy to enforce the curfew.

When asked about game postponement, Baltimore Orioles chief operating officer John P. Angelos said,

My greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy … is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships … plunged tens of millions of good hard working Americans into economic devastation and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state. The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, an ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importance of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever….

 

 

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