Thousands of angered residents marched downtown to Baltimore, hurling bottles, throwing metal barriers and other objects at police officers, and demanding justice for 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody after sustaining a spinal injury.
The protesters carried signs reading, “We remember Freddie” and “Our Hearts Are With The Gray Family.”
Authorities deployed police to control the situation, and 35 protesters were arrested. Six officers sustained minor injuries.
A photo editor at Baltimore’s City Paper and a photographer for Reuters were detained and beaten up by the police as they were covering the event.
“We hope that the department will dismiss the citation and, going forward, respect the First Amendment right of the press to lawfully take images in the public interest,” Reuters said.
“Mr. Gray died a week ago. And I think the thing that upset so many people was the fact that here’s a young man. We still don’t know exactly why he was arrested. We do know that he was hollering out for aid. He was not given aid after being arrested. … A lot of people are very, very frustrated as to trying to figure out what happened here, and it’s very upsetting,” Rep. Elijah Cummings said.
“Last night we saw a small group of agitators turning what was otherwise a peaceful demonstration into violent disruptions,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said during a news conference on Saturday night. “I will not let those individuals put their agendas ahead of our city’s.”
Gray died a week after he was arrested by patrol officers. Though not yet clear, police said he was arrested because he was carrying a switchblade knife. He died a week later following a spinal injury.
The funeral service of Gray will be held on Monday morning. In wake of the protest, six Baltimore police officers were suspended.