Christie Ileto, WJZ (Baltimore), April 27, 2015
Fifteen Baltimore City police officers were injured, multiple vehicles were vandalized and set on fire, and businesses were looted as a massive group of rioters ran wild along North Avenue early Monday evening.
As a result, a city-wide curfew was put in place in an effort to restore order.
It’s believed the riots may be a result of fliers that were apparently shared over the weekend on social media asking high schoolers to rally at Mondawmin Mall. It was supposed to be a peaceful march for Freddie Gray that extended from Mondawmin Mall to The Avenue.
Instead, things quickly spiraled out of control.
Police said the hurt officers suffered injuries from flying debris in the melee as rioters began attacking them unprovoked. At least one was knocked unconscious. Two officers remained hospitalized Monday night. Twenty-seven suspects were arrested.
By 7 p.m., Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to address the growing violence and unrest. Many businesses in downtown Baltimore closed early and streets were eerily quiet as workers and residents feared the protests and violence would return to the heart of Charm City.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake declared a week-long curfew to be in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the city in an effort to curb further violence and rioting. This curfew is in addition to the juvenile curfew already in effect for the city.
WJZ’s Christie Ileto witnessed students and other participants throwing rocks and bricks at officers in riot gear. Tear gas and pepper spray were utilized by officers and Ileto received treatment from police after the wind carried pepper spray into her face.
“This is nothing like Saturday’s protests, nothing,” Ileto said.
The baseball game scheduled to be played between the Orioles and the Chicago White Sox was canceled after officials consulted with Baltimore Police. No makeup date has been announced yet.
Some of the worst damage came at a CVS store at Pennsylvania Ave. and North Ave. where looters ransacked the building. Several police vehicles were also set on fire nearby. By 6:30 p.m., that CVS was engulfed in flames. Thick clouds of dark smoke could be seen billowing from the store across the city.
Police said members of the group rioting at Pennsylvania and North Aves. cut the fire hose while they were attempting to put out the blaze.
Sky Eye Chopper 13 also appeared to show one looter who backed up a car to the other side of CVS and was loading it up with goods from the store.
Another vehicle was seen driving onto the sidewalk directly in front of the store through the crowd.
Long said the group that caused damage to the CVS eventually looted a check cashing business. Dozens could be seen surrounding that business as some ran in and out of the broken building.
Looting reportedly spread to Lexington Market in downtown Baltimore by 8:30 on Monday night. A cell phone store, poultry market, and 7-Eleven near the market were destroyed by looters during the protest on Saturday night.
Officers used mace and what appeared to be tear gas to disperse crowds.
City Council President Jack Young urged rioters to “stop the madness.”
“We can not go back to 1968 where we burned down our own infrastructure and our own neighborhoods. We still have scars from 1968 where we had some burnt out building and businesses did not want to come back to the city of Baltimore. We have to stop the burning down and the breaking in of these stores because in the end it hurts us as a people,” he said. “This is no reason to loot and rob in the city of Baltimore. The whole world is watching us and some people are even calling us animals.”
99.1 WNEW reporter Steve Dorsey was attacked by one person while covering the riots near the CVS. “I was just about to do a live shot on the phone when out of no where a protester came up in front of me, shouted something at me, hit me in the face. I fell down and my phone dropped out of my hand and at that point he was going to kick me while I was laying down on the asphalt, and a few other protesters intervened and they pushed that guy back and I was able to escape with the help, limping, with some other protesters,” he told WJZ’s Mary Bubala.
Dorsey said he witnessed “nothing but chaos” as he covered the riots.
“I actually saw a fire truck pull up to the scene, stay about two minutes — there were only two firefighters on board — and just left. There was really nothing they could do in an uncontrolled chaotic scene like that. Also the back of a police van was completely wide open. A witness told me he actually saw someone steal a shotgun out of the van and leave with it,” he added.
Residents were stunned by the chaos and disorder that controlled the area. One resident known as “Cool Anthony” on social media told WJZ’s Marcus Washington he was hoping for a peaceful end to the situation.
“We have to live here, this is our home. We didn’t live in the best neighborhoods as there was, but now it’s like you all are breaking into stores and taking things like toilet tissue and dollar bills, for what? You’re not doing it for Freddie no more, ya’al are doing it for your own personal enjoyment now,” he said.
The MTA says that due to police activity, trains will be bypassing Lexington, Upton, State Center, Mondawmin and Penn North Metro stations.