Latest on police-custody death: More protests in Ferguson

AP News
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Posted: Apr 30, 2015 2:19 AM
Latest on police-custody death: More protests in Ferguson

11 p.m.

Protesters have returned to Ferguson a day after looting, fires and gunfire broke out during demonstrations over the death of a black man who died of spinal injuries after his arrest by Baltimore police.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports several dozen people marched down West Florissant Avenue in the St. Louis suburb Wednesday night protesting the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.

That same area was the site of numerous protests after the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, by a white Ferguson police officer in August.

A Ferguson Police Department spokesman says three people were shot during protests Tuesday night and four police cars were damaged by rocks and chunks of asphalt thrown by demonstrators.

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Several hundred people have gathered in New York to protest the death of Freddie Gray, a Baltimore man who was critically injured in police custody, and at least 60 people have been arrested.

Protesters Wednesday first rallied in Manhattan's Union Square, where they chanted "no justice, no peace" and "hands up, don't shoot," a reference to the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last year. Police officers stood and watched.

A police helicopter hovered overhead, and a police loudspeaker warned the protesters that they would be arrested if they marched in the street.

A group of protesters spilled into the street and disrupted traffic. Dozens of police officers moved in with plastic handcuffs and began making arrests while officers with batons pushed the crowd back onto the sidewalk.

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10:45 p.m.

Civic leaders declared victory when the intersection at North and Pennsylvania avenues had been cleared of all but a few stragglers 15 minutes after the beginning of Baltimore's curfew.

As of 10:30 Wednesday night, police hadn't taken action against the very few who remained out.

Hundreds of police officers in riot gear remained at the scene, which was the site of rioting Monday, with nothing to do.

"We are very proud of what has happened here tonight. We are proud of our city," Rep. Elijah Cummings said after everyone had gone home. He promised that the investigation into Freddie Gray's death in police custody will remain a top priority.

State Sen. Catherine Pugh noted that members of the community took the lead in clearing the streets, allowing police officers to hang back.

"I think we showed the nation that Baltimore can protect the peace," Pugh said.

She also urged the community to be patient with the Gray investigation. Police are scheduled to provide a report Friday to the state's attorney. But Pugh said that office will need time to review the evidence.

"We have to give her time and her office time to wade through those papers," Pugh said.

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10:10 p.m.

A few minutes after the city-wide curfew, only a couple dozen people are left at the scene of Monday's rioting in Baltimore.

Police are clearing the streets for the 10 p.m. curfew Wednesday. A police helicopter is broadcasting a warning to stragglers: "You must go home. You will be subject to an arrest."

During the day, residents continued to protest the death of Freddie Gray, who died after injuries he suffered in police custody.

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9:45 p.m.

Shortly before 10 p.m., Baltimore police in riot gear began to shut down North Avenue by lining up in the intersection.

Traffic had been flowing freely at the corner of North and Pennsylvania avenues, the site of Monday night's looting as people rioted over the police-custody death of Freddie Gray. On Tuesday night, the intersection had been closed to traffic, blocked by a line of police in riot gear.

As he did Tuesday night, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who represents the area, was on the scene asking more than 100 protesters to go home ahead of the 10 p.m. curfew.

"I'm hoping that people will listen," Cummings said. "This is my neighborhood. I know a lot of these people."

Community members forcefully urged others to go home ahead of the curfew, and a few fights broke out within the crowd. But they were quickly broken up.

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8:30 p.m.

Hundreds have marched in Boston and Indianapolis in support of Baltimore protesters angered by the death of a black man in police custody.

The Boston gathering began Wednesday evening in a park behind police headquarters in Roxbury and continued with a peaceful march through the neighborhood. Police accompanied the marchers and blocked streets for them.

Marchers chanted "no justice, no peace, no racist police" and some carried signs, including "Boston Stands With Baltimore."

Wayne Dozier, grandfather of D.J. Henry, a black college football player from Massachusetts who was shot by police in the suburbs New York City four years ago, attended the rally and said "it hurts" to lose a loved one to police action. He said society needs to change.

In downtown Indianapolis, more than two dozen protesters marched around Monument Circle chanting "no racist police" and carrying signs with slogans that included "I'm not scared of the apocalypse. I'm scared of a copalypse."

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8:15 p.m.

Baltimore's police commissioner says the department is "not giving up" on dozens of people who've been released from custody after Monday's riots.

The people released Wednesday afternoon were arrested but not charged. Commissioner Anthony Batts said Wednesday evening that the department will conduct follow-up investigations and charge people appropriately. The department was required by law to release people from custody if they were not charged within 48 hours.

Capt. Eric Kowalczyk (koh-WAHL'-chek), a police spokesman, says the number of people released Wednesday was "in the 80s," but the Maryland Public Defender's Office, which worked on behalf of the detainees, said 101 people were let go.

Batts says 16 more adults and two juveniles were arrested during peaceful protests Wednesday. That brings the total number of arrests since Monday's riots to more than 250.

Protesters have been demanding answers after the death of Freddie Gray, an unarmed black man, in police custody.

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7:45 p.m.

More than a thousand protesters have made their way back from City Hall to Penn Station two hours after their peaceful march and rally began.

As the group walked back to the train station through residential neighborhoods Thursday evening, people sitting on stoops were recording the march, waving to those walking and indicating their support for the demonstrators' message of justice for Freddie Gray, who was critically injured in police custody.

Law student Djaz Baluch Jr. was watching from his row house and said he supports the marchers "a hundred percent."

"This inconvenience is minor compared to the inconvenience people in impoverished communities face every day due to police brutality," he said.

Once back at the station, protest organizers urged protesters to go home and fight another day.

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5:50 p.m.

A group of protesters stretching more than a block has left Penn Station in Baltimore for a march to City Hall to protest Freddie Gray's death after being hurt while in police custody.

People are chanting, "Tell the truth. Stop the lies. Freddie Gray didn't have to die."

Jacob Kinder, a junior at Goucher University in nearby Towson, Maryland, said Gray's death and the subsequent protests and riots have been a big topic all week on campus.

"I think there's a pretty big fault line between students who think that the protests are justified and the riots are justified and people who don't see race as a problem," Kinder said.

Kinder is white, as were many in the group just before 6 p.m. The marchers included a large number of college students.

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5:30 p.m.

Dozens of people are marching in protest of the death of Freddie Gray, who was critically injured in police custody.

Many of the protesters wore black T-shirts that said: "Black Lives Matter" — which has become the slogan of a movement against police brutality.

The demonstration comes as the city tries to get back to normal after riots Monday night. A curfew was put in place Tuesday and it will continue for the rest of the week.

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5:10 p.m.

Baltimore firefighters don't feel safe doing their jobs because people are throwing rocks and other things at them.

Baltimore City Firefighters' Union President Rick Hoffman said Wednesday that firefighters must go into defensive mode and wait for police to arrive before tackling blazes.

This delays fighting fires, and Hoffman says a few minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

Cars and business were set on fire Monday night as people rioted over the police-custody death of Freddie Gray.

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At Mondawmin Mall, which served as a launching pad for Monday's rioting, things were about as normal as could be expected.

Uniformed students simply boarded buses and went home Wednesday afternoon.

Police in riot gear guarded the closed mall when kids started to arrive. But they sat down and took a rest in the shade after about a half hour when it was apparent they weren't needed.

Instead, members of the community, including rival gangs of Crips, Bloods and Black Guerrillas kept an eye on things to make sure nothing got started.

"We got the right people out here today," said Kinji Smith of West Baltimore. "The people they try to vilify are the ones making things calm."

People in Baltimore are angry over the death of Freddie Gray, who was critically injured in police custody.

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4:15 p.m.

Attorneys representing people arrested during this week's violence and looting are frustrated that suspects are being assigned bail they believe is exorbitant.

Many of those charged can't pay it, and may spend months in jail awaiting trial.

In several cases Wednesday, Assistant Senior State's Attorney David Chu asked that bail be revoked.

Among the first cases was 28-year-old Gerard Anderson, who faced charges of malicious destruction and felony burglary.

Linda Ramirez, an attorney working pro bono, argued Anderson was going to a grocery store to get food, not to loot. Ramirez said her client wasn't identified as a person who damaged the store's windows. She wanted his bail set at $25,000.

The judge wasn't swayed and set bail at $100,000, with the first $500 in cash.

Asked if he had anything to say, Anderson replied, "I'm good."

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3:15 p.m.

A White House spokesman is reflecting on the video of Toya Graham, saying the Baltimore mother who chased her son away from a riot with police represented "a powerful expression about the role that parents can play."

"The thing that resonated with me is — was her expression that she was concerned about her son facing the same fate as Freddie Gray," spokesman Josh Earnest said. "And while I'm sure that it was not the immediate reaction of her son to feel like she was looking out for his best interest, there is no doubting that her reaction was one that was rooted in her concern for his safety and his well-being and her love for her child."

A clip of Graham smacking her son around has become very popular on television broadcasts and social media.

The riots started after the police-custody death of Freddie Gray.

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2:40 p.m.

Police say they arrested 35 people, including one juvenile, after the city imposed a curfew.

Capt. Eric Kowalczyk (koh-WAHL'-chek) says more than 100 people are still waiting in jail to be charged in the riots Monday night. He says police have a 48-window to charge them or else they will go free. About 100 people who were also arrested have been charged.

He says the backlog has occurred because officers have to fill out documents and do other work to file the charges. He says if people are released, they may face charges later after officers review video and social media.

The unrest occurred on the day of Freddie Gray's funeral. He suffered critical injuries while in police custody.

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2:15 p.m.

In what promises to be one of the oddest spectacles in major-league history, the Baltimore Orioles are playing the Chicago White Sox in a stadium with no fans.

Media is buzzing over Wednesday's deserted game. The press box is full, but the grandstands are vacant. TV camera crews line the field and are stationed outside the ballpark.

Officials closed the game to the public because of safety concerns after riots broke out this week, sparked by the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. He suffered spinal injuries in police custody.

Before the first pitch, the public address announcer at Camden Yards announced the playing of the national anthem, informing "ladies and gentlemen" what was to follow. A recorded version of the song played.

The game then began, with the usually teeming concourse barren and concession stands locked up.

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1 p.m.

A few dozen protesters have gathered outside the office of Baltimore's top prosecutor to demand swift justice in the case of a black man who died in police custody.

Organizers say they are rallying in support of State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who took office in January and pledged during her campaign to address aggressive police practices.

Police have said they will turn over their report on the death of Freddie Gray to Mosby's office on Friday. She will then face a decision on whether and how to pursue charges against the police officers who arrested Gray. Six officers have been suspended during the investigation.

Gray's death from a spinal injury while in custody has led to protests, rioting and looting.

The protesters chanted "No justice, no peace!" and "This is what democracy looks like!" They say the city needs to return to peaceful protests.

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12:40 p.m.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has played a free outside concert in the city as tensions appear to be easing after the riots.

The symphony played around lunchtime and dozens of people gathered and sang the national anthem as the orchestra played along. The concert is part of the city's efforts to return to some sort of normalcy after rioters looted stores and burned businesses on Monday night.

A weeklong nighttime curfew started on Tuesday and there were very few problems. Protesters have taken to the streets because they are upset over the police-custody death of Freddie Gray.

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9:30 a.m.

Justice Department officials say they have met with the family of Freddie Gray, who died of a spinal injury days after being taken into police custody, and with an injured police officer who remains hospitalized.

The department says the meetings happened Tuesday.

Justice officials also say representatives from a specialized office that mediates conflict between police departments and communities are also in Baltimore and met with residents who shared concerns about a lack of trust in law enforcement.

Separately, the department says the results of a federal review of the Baltimore Police Department's use of force practices are expected to be announced in coming weeks. The department also has begun a civil rights investigation into Gray's death.