It’s been a rough 24 hours in Baltimore, and too much has happened to fit inside a 5-minute news summary by a 1 person editorial team.
Baltimore Rex is a work-in-progress. My goal is to help people make sense of the news in this city in an easy-to-follow way. Let me know what you need today and beyond by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org or replying directly to this newsletter, or on Twitter. There’s plenty of bad information and rumors flying, especially on social media – if you need clarity or confirmation, I can help. If you or someone you know need information about events, available resources – anything in Baltimore, really, let me know.
Things to know, things to remember
- Thousands attended funeral services for Freddie Gray yesterday morning. At the family’s request, no marches or protest actions were planned for the day.
- During the funeral, Baltimore Police announced a “credible threat” that gangs had allied to attack police officers.
- Also during the day, rumors on social media spread of a “purge” by local high school students. (This is not the first time a “The Purge” meme has spread among local students.) Police responded to the rumors by stationing officers with riot gear at Mondawmin Mall, a major transit hub for West Baltimore students. Public transit services out of Mondawmin were suspended, leaving many students with no way to leave. This tense situation escalated, when students began to throw things at the cops. First bottles, then bricks. Many students dispersed through the surrounding neighborhoods, others continued to engage with police. Others joined in. Multiple officers were injured, some seriously.
- The looting and vandalism grew from there and continued through the night. We’re still trying to make sense of it all this morning. The Sun has a partial map. People ransacked many storefronts, including some far away from the afternoon events. Arsonists set fires, destroying cars and several buildings, including an unfinished senior center in east Baltimore.
- Early in the evening, groups of pastors, Nation of Islam leaders, and other community members joined arms and marched through the streets attempting to stop rioting.
- Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake declared a city-wide 10pm curfew, starting tonight and lasting at least a week. City schools are closed today, as well as some other public offices and businesses. Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in Baltimore and started to deploy National Guard reserves and other resources.
- Towards midnight, Gray’s family, a group of pastors, community members, and self-identifying gang members gathered at the church where Gray’s funeral was held early in the day to denounce the violence. Gang members called for peace and denied the accuracy of BPD’s gang alliance threat.
- As far as we know, nobody was killed in yesterday’s events. Two people were shot last night, but motives are unclear. It’s unknown how many people were hurt.
How to help
- A cleanup effort is being organized to kick off in Sandtown later this morning.
- 300 Men March is organizing another cleanup/outreach action starting at Old Town Mall.
- Baltimore Water Project is raising money to help Baltimore residents facing water shutoffs for being unable to pay their bills.
- Schools are closed today. Many students rely on breakfast and lunch programs. Operation Help or Hush is working to help make sure kids can get a meal today.
- Talk with your neighbors, community organizations, etc – there are many things that’ll be happening at a neighborhood level. If you need help getting hooked up with people near you, reply to this email and I’ll try to help connect you.