Thousands protest over Gray death

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Published: Thursday 30th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Thousands of people in cities across the US protested against the death of a black man who died of spinal injuries after his arrest by Baltimore police.

There were demonstrations in Boston, New York, Washington DC and Indianapolis as well as Baltimore, with protesters demanding reforms to police procedures.

While the marches sparked by the death of Freddie Gray were mostly peaceful, there were some arrests, including 16 in Baltimore and more than a dozen at a rally in Manhattan’s Union Square.

Mr Gray, of Baltimore, was critically injured in police custody.

After meeting faith leaders and a lawyer for the Gray family, Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said officials were working hard to make the investigation into his death transparent and keep the community informed.

Police have said that they will turn over findings from their investigation to the state’s lawyers tomorrow.

Still, anger and anxiety hung over Baltimore.

Hundreds of protesters, many of them students wearing backpacks, marched through the centre of the city, calling for swift justice in the case of Mr Gray.

The authorities carefully monitored the rally after teenagers started violence on Monday, throwing bricks and bottles at officers who had gathered near a major bus transfer point.

The situation escalated from there, overwhelming police as protesters set fire to cars and buildings and raided stores.

Schools closed on Tuesday because of the mayhem, but reopened yesterday, after the city’s first night of a curfew went off without the widespread violence many had feared.

About 3,000 police and National Guardsmen descended on the city to help keep order, and life was not expected to get completely back to normal very quickly.

The curfew got off to a not-so-promising start on Tuesday night when about 200 protesters ignored warnings from police and pleas from pastors and other community activists to disperse. Some threw water bottles or lay down on the ground.

Police said 35 people were arrested after the curfew went into effect.

And in what was one of the weirdest spectacles in baseball history, yesterday afternoon’s Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yards was closed to the public for safety reasons.

Earlier in the day, protesters outside the office of Baltimore’s senior prosecutor said they supported State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who took office in January and pledged during her campaign to address aggressive police practices.

Her office is expected tomorrow to get investigative findings from police on Mr Gray’s death.

She will then face a decision on whether and how to pursue charges against the six police officers who arrested Mr Gray.

Published: Thursday 30th April 2015 by The News Editor

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