On Sunday, Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake lifted the curfew imposed on the city after protestors had taken to the streets demonstrating against Freddie Gray’s death on April 19.
With the decision, Maryland National Guard troops retreated and the Mondawmin Mall, which had been closed during the riots, was reopened to the public.
According to The Baltimore Sun, while attending mass at St. Peter Claver Church in West Baltimore, Governor Larry Hogan said, “It’s time to get the community back to normal again.”
“It’s been a very hard week, but we’ve kept everybody safe. Since Monday night, we haven’t had any serious problems.”
My goal has always been to not have the curfew in place a single day longer than was necessary. I believe we have reached that point today.
— Stephanie (SRB) (@MayorSRB) May 3, 2015
The curfew followed the death of 25-year-old Gray, who was taken by the police and had sustained spinal injury while in custody. His death caused citywide demonstrations, and subsequently, a curfew was placed instructing people to stay indoors from 10 p.m. until 5 p.m.
However, the curfew was met with joviality after prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced that Gray’s death was declared a homicide, and that six officers were held accused, according to Reuters. While two police officers were charged with several felonies, a police van driver was accused of second-degree depraved heart murder.
Gray was arrested on insufficient grounds. He was handcuffed and was made to lie with his head down in the back of the van. His pleas for medical help were also neglected.
Rawlings-Blake visited the Mondawmin Mall, saying the destruction was “devastating.”
The site had been looted during the citywide riots. It was reopened to the public after a week of cleanup efforts.
After visiting the mall, Rawlings-Blake said, “A lot of the unrest has been settled.”
Restaurants and bars breathed sighs of relief after the curfew was lifted. Their businesses had been hurt badly during the riots.
Patrick Russell, owner of Slainte and Kooper’s Tavern in Fells Point, said, “How many people can you fit in your establishment to make up for five nights?”
He said he lost $40,000 in sales during the demonstrations. He said it was “a staggering amount of money to lose in cash flow.”
According to ABC News, Malik Shabazz, the president of Black Lawyers for Justice, called the curfew “oppressive.”
“Nobody out here is going to go out here and start any violence because they’re waiting on the trial. They have gotten some justice,” Shabazz said.
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