Latest on police-custody death: Officer injured near station

AP News
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Posted: Apr 26, 2015 12:25 AM
Latest on police-custody death: Officer injured near station

12 a.m.

A Baltimore police spokesman says an officer has suffered minor injuries in the waning hours of the Freddie Gray demonstrations.

The officer was injured near a police station where three dozen police officers in riot helmets and shields are lined up. The crowd is sparse, mostly people coming out of their homes, some throwing items, possibly rocks, at the officers.

The injury occurred after a day of protests, including some that became violent at times. At least five officers in all were injured.

The demonstrators are upset over the police-custody death of Gray, who suffered a spinal injury.

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10:30 p.m.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says she is "profoundly disappointed" that the protests over the death of Freddie Gray turned violent.

"Our city has a long history of peaceful demonstrations," Rawlings-Blake said Saturday night. "Ninety-five percent or more of the people who came out sought to protest in that spirit. Unfortunately a small group of agitators turned what was otherwise a peaceful demonstration into a violent protest."

At least 12 people were arrested and two were injured in the mayhem.

Fire officials estimate that roughly 1,200 people gathered at City Hall earlier in the day, and one person was transported to the hospital after falling down.

Gray suffered a spinal injury while in police custody and later died at a hospital. Protesters have been angry, gathering for near-daily demonstrations since Gray died about a week ago.

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10 p.m.

Freddie Gray's twin sister is appealing to protesters to "please, please stop the violence" after a small group of demonstrators smashed out storefronts and police cars.

It was the first public comments from Gray's sister, Fredricka Gray, since he suffered an unexplained spinal injury in police custody and died.

Fredericka Gray appeared with the mayor at a news conference and said her brother would not want to see the kind of violence that occurred in Baltimore on Saturday night.

At least two people were injured and a dozen were arrested.

Fans at the Orioles-Red Sox baseball game were told to stay in the stadium because of public safety worries.

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9:30 p.m.

Police have cleared Freddie Gray protesters of an intersection near the Baltimore Orioles game, allowing traffic to once again start flowing.

The demonstrators split off from the main rally Saturday, which drew thousands of people upset over the police-custody death of Gray.

The number of what police called "agitators" are dwindling downtown, as a line of officers continue to push protesters away from the intersection they'd blocked traffic for hours.

The head of a group that sponsored Saturday's rally and march said he was pleased with how everything went.

Malik Shabazz, the president of Black Lawyers for Justice, said the crowd exceeded their expectations and included Gray's family, Baltimore residents and people from the national anti-police brutality movement.

Asked about the second, more volatile portion of the demonstrations, he said protesters' anger is not a shock.

"This is a problem that has not been solved. When there's no justice, they tend to want to take matters into their own hands," he said.

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9 p.m.

The Baltimore police commissioner says he believes looters and other people causing trouble during a Freddie Gray protest are not from the city.

Commissioner Anthony Batts tells The Associated Press that Batts said there have been 12 arrests, and crimes include two armed robberies, several assaults and looting of a convenience store.

Batts says his officers are preparing to make a "mass arrest" after issuing several dispersal orders at one intersection still crowded with protesters. Batts said everyone attending the Orioles game at Camden Yards will be kept inside until the scene is cleared.

Thousands of people came out to protest the police-custody death of Gray, who died after an unexplained spinal injury. Authorities are investigating his death. Six officers have been suspended with pay.

Batts described a group of people breaking windows, engaging police officers and destroying property as "very violent agitators."

Batts said his department spokesman was "struck and punched by this crowd."

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8:30 p.m.

As night fell, a police helicopter flew over a downtown intersection that had for at least an hour been the site of a tense standoff between police and hundreds of Freddie Gray protesters.

Police warned people that if they don't clear out, they'll be arrested.

Roughly 30 minutes earlier, a spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department said the focus remains "to make sure people can come together peacefully to exercise their first amendment rights."

Thousands of protesters took to the streets on Saturday, angry over the police-custody death of Gray. He died of an unexplained spinal injury.

Throughout the day at least four police cars were damaged. Police sent a second Tweet that groups of individuals are continuing to cause disturbances downtown.

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7:30 p.m.

A tense standoff between protesters and police continues downtown with officers and Freddie Gray demonstrators.

Officers in riot gear with batons are pushing the crowd back. Some protesters have run toward the line of officers, which also includes several mounted officers. At least three people were taken into custody.

Police said in a Tweet that "isolated pockets of people from out of town causing disturbances."

A downtown wedding had to be moved inside after another group of protesters engaged in a standoff with officers. Nearby, there were several cars with broken windows.

Police are calling for officers scheduled on later shifts to report for duty immediately.

One protester broke out the window of a police cruiser, grabbed a police hat inside and wore it while standing on top of the cruiser with several other protesters. At that point, scores of officer rushed into the area, stopped and formed a line, three officers deep. The protesters scattered but returned a few minutes later and began yelling "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!"

Meanwhile, the Orioles game against the Red Sox got underway in the stadium nearby.

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7 p.m.

Smaller groups of Freddie Gray protesters have split off from the main demonstration, throwing cans, bottles and trash cans at police, storefronts and restaurants.

At least two people have been injured.

A group of roughly 100 protesters broke out a window of a department store with a chair they got at a restaurant across the street at The Gallery, a downtown shopping mall. No police officers responded.

A few minutes earlier, the same group broke the windows of bars restaurants, including a Subway sandwich shop near Camden Yards, tossing chairs and tables through the glass. A woman inside one of the restaurants jumped in front of the protesters and begged them to stop throwing things.

Demonstrators have been upset over the police-custody death of Gray, who suffered a spinal injury that has not been explained.

At least two bystanders — a man and woman — were bleeding from the head. Some people were struck by beer cans, bottles and trash cans. That group also engaged with a group of fans at a bar near the baseball stadium and fights broke out.

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6:30 p.m.

Scores of rowdy Freddie Gray protesters are crowded outside of Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles are expected to play the Boston Red Sox at 7:05 p.m.

One protester threw something at a police car parked at Camden Yards, and kicked the windshield, cracking it, while other protesters were throwing cans and plastic bottles in the direction of police officers.

At least one protester jumped on a police car.

From inside the stadium, people watched the protesters gather.

Gray died in police custody after he suffered an unexplained spinal injury.

The demonstrators are interspersed with people trying to make their way toward the gate for the game, and fans are winding their way through the protesters.

Police officers outside the stadiums were wearing riot helmets.

Meanwhile, near the Inner Harbor, a group of more than 100 protesters blocked traffic as motorists became increasingly frustrated, with one getting out of the car.

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6 p.m.

Crowds of Freddie Gray protesters have almost entirely dispersed from City Hall, with smaller groups splitting off to head toward the Inner Harbor and Camden Yards.

Malik Shabazz, one of the protest's organizers, said demonstrators are "here to give a voice to the voiceless" after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who died April 19 after suffering a traumatic spinal injury in police custody.

"There's a new force out here that's on the streets with this police brutality movement," Shabazz said. "It consists of lawyers, activists and community persons who will continue to fight for justice."

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5:30 p.m.

Thousands have flooded the grassy plaza across from City Hall as the group of Freddie Gray marchers met those already demonstrating downtown.

The crowd flowing into the plaza was met with cheers.

Wearing a sign around his neck that said "I am Freddie Gray" 33-year-old Dante Acree said he came out to the protest because "it could have been one of my kids."

"It could have been my brother, my father," he said. "I'd want the same support."

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4:30 p.m.

As the protesters continued on from Camden Yards toward City Hall, it paused at a nearby intersection where roughly a dozen people lay down in an impromptu "die-in," stopping traffic.

Meanwhile, the crowd at City Hall continues to swell in the demonstration of the police-custody death of Freddie Gray. Rallying speeches have started while some hecklers have lined up at the police barricade to shout at officers.

Tanya Peacher, a 36-year-old Baltimore resident said she'd never attended a protest in the city before, but watching a video of Gray's arrest, motivated her.

"I looked at my son," she said, recalling the video, "and thought 'that is my son.'"

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4:15 p.m.

Protesters filled the streets behind Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles are hosting the Boston Red Sox at 7 p.m.

At least 50 officers are standing guard at the stadium gates, with more officers nearby.

Earlier, at City Hall, Leonard Patterson, 56, said he drove from Manassas, Virginia, to be a part of the protest. Patterson said he decided to come after thinking about his college-aged daughter.

"I'm trying to do everything in my limbs, everything in my power, to make this a better world for her," said Patterson, holding up his black and white drawing of Freddie Gray, who died April 19 after suffering a fatal injury to his spine while in police custody.

The drawing shows Gray being hoisted from a police van to heaven by two angels.

"I'm here to do what I can. Police brutality is as old as the 1950s, the 1960s. It's still here," he said.

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4 p.m.

At least a thousand protesters are making their way from West Baltimore to City Hall.

The racially diverse crowd is filling at least two full city blocks, and waving signs that read, "racism is a disease, revolution is the cure."

Marchers paused for a moment of silence in front of Shock Trauma, where Freddie Gray died a week ago from a traumatic spine injury he suffered while in police custody.

At the back of the march is a caravan of at least 20 cars blocking the traffic on the periphery of Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles are hosting the Boston Red Sox.

Protesters and the curious are steadily streaming into the plaza directly across from City Hall. Some are wearing shirts that say "black lives matter" and holding signs that state "I'm not a threat" and "Stop killing us" as music and civil rights speeches are played through large speakers.

Justice Allah, 30, who is with Black Lawyers for Justice, said the goal of the protest is to call attention to the problem of killings by police officers.

"We're tired of this, what is going on with this police department," Allah said. "We're tired of our mayor turning a blind eye."

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3:30 p.m.

The police officers' union says it is "disappointed" in the comments made by Police Commissioner Anthony Batts on the death of Freddie Gray, who died after he was injured in police custody.

A statement from the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 on Saturday called Batts' comments "politically driven, and in direct contrast to the commissioner's own request not to jump to any conclusions."

Batts said Friday that Gray should have been buckled in a seat belt in a police van and officers failed to give him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.

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2:45 p.m.

Several hundred demonstrators marched through the streets of West Baltimore, where a crowd had gathered at the site of the arrest of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.

Gray died a week ago after sustaining injuries while in the custody of Baltimore police.

Marchers gathered earlier in the day at a police station near Gray's arrest. Barriers were put up around the Western District police station.

Outside the station, people held yellow and black signs that read, "Community control of police now!" ''Jail killer police!" and "Unite Here!"