Thousands Take to Baltimore Streets to Protest Freddie Gray’s Death

New York Times, By Sheryl Gay Stolberg & Ashley Southall, April 25

Baltimore — A largely peaceful protest over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a spinal cord injury in police custody, gave way to scattered scenes of chaos here on Saturday night, as demonstrators smashed a downtown storefront window and damaged police cruisers, while officers broke up skirmishes and made arrests near Camden Yards.

Hours earlier, a racially diverse and mostly calm crowd of demonstrators marched through the streets, clogging intersections, carrying signs and shouting, “All night, all day, we’re gonna fight for Freddie Gray!” Some had come from New York and Ferguson, Mo., and authorities here had warned against “outside agitators” coming to stir up trouble.

The demonstrators made their way from West Baltimore, from the squat brick public housing development where Mr. Gray was arrested on April 12, through the downtown harbor, before massing on a plaza at City Hall, where one of the speakers told the crowd he would release them in an hour, adding: “Shut it down if you want to! Shut it down!”

Daily protests have swept across the city since Mr. Gray died last Sunday, but Saturday’s turnout was among the largest.

The trouble began when a group of protesters, as many as 100 by some accounts, split from the main group near the end of the protest and went on a rampage — throwing cans, bottles and trash cans at police officers and breaking windows in some businesses. As the breakaway group reached Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles were scheduled to play the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night, they were met by police officers in riot gear. There were reports of damage to some cars parked at the baseball stadium.

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