The Latest: Baltimore mayor calls for peace after protests

AP News
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Posted: Apr 26, 2015 6:57 PM
The Latest: Baltimore mayor calls for peace after protests

6:45 p.m.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held a news conference to call on protesters to be peaceful as they demonstrate against the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died a week ago after sustaining serious injuries while in police custody.

She referred to protests that turned violent in downtown and west Baltimore on Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

"At the end of the day we are one Baltimore. We need to support peaceful demonstration and continue to enforce in our communities that rioting, violence, and looting will not be tolerated in our city," the mayor said. "Together we can be one Baltimore and seek answers as we seek justice and as we seek peace."

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5 p.m.

A photo editor for a Baltimore newspaper said he was beaten by police at a protest of the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died a week ago after sustaining serious injuries while in police custody.

J.M. Giordano, who works at City Paper, says police "swarmed over" him and hit him repeatedly. A video of the beating posted to the newspaper's website Sunday shows at least two police officers in riot gear hitting and kicking Giordano as the person filming screams, "He's a photographer! He's press!"

Giordano, 41, said his head hit the ground during the beating, which he said only stopped when someone pulled him out of the fray.

He said he wasn't seriously hurt but was aching all over on Sunday.

Sait Serkan Gurbuz, a photographer with Reuters, said police detained him as he was shooting the scuffle. He declined to comment further. A statement from Reuters said police also cited Gurbuz for failure to obey orders.

"(Gurbuz) was wearing his press credentials, was on a public sidewalk, and the events were happening in plain view," Reuters said. "We hope that the department will dismiss the citation and, going forward, respect the First Amendment right of the press to lawfully take images in the public interest."

A Baltimore police spokesman said he was looking into the matter for possible comment.

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3 p.m.

Tara Cuffee and Tina Covington said they don't know Freddie Gray.

But they say they attended a wake for Gray on Sunday to express condolences to his family. Both women have sons in their 20s, as Gray was.

"It hits home. It really does. It's a reality check," said Covington, 46, whose son is 27.

Both women said they have talked with their sons about how to interact with police, such as stopping in a lighted area if they are pulled over and keeping their hands on the steering wheel. They said those discussions stemmed from the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The women said they knew Baltimore had issues with police before Gray's death.

"There is something going on in the police department that needs to change," Covington said.

Gray is the 25-year-old black man who died a week ago after sustaining serious injuries while in police custody.

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1 p.m.

A wake has begun at a funeral home in Baltimore in memory of Freddie Gray.

The wake was being held at the Vaughn Green East funeral home, where a funeral will be held Monday. A church service was held for Gray earlier in the day.

The mourning came a day after violence marred a protest Saturday in which thousands of people took to the streets to demand answers in the case. Gray's death on April 19 has intensified a national debate over police treatment of African-Americans.

Gray, 25, died after sustaining serious injuries while in police custody.

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12:30 p.m.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is calling for peace in the aftermath of Saturday's protests.

"From the days of our nation's earliest civil rights sit-ins, Baltimore has a long tradition of peaceful and respectful demonstrations," the mayor said in a Sunday news release.

She called for citizens to keep their demonstrations peaceful going forward after the death of Gray, 25, who died a week ago after sustaining serious injuries while in police custody.

Two dozen religious leaders joined in the mayor's call for peace.