Baltimore seething with rage over black man's custody death

Baltimore seething with rage over black man's custody death
2 min read
28 April, 2015
Baltimore erupted in anger on Monday as hundreds of protesters took to the streets incensed by the death of a 25-year-old black man in police custody.
A protestor confronts police in riot gear, April 25, 2015 in Baltimore [Mark Makela/Getty Images].

Riot police stood guard on the smouldering streets of the US city of Baltimore Tuesday after protesters incensed by the death of a young black man in police custody took to the streets, torching cars and buildings.  

Fires continued to burn in the mainly black northeastern city, where a curfew was set to take effect Tuesday evening.

The state of Maryland declared a state of emergency. Schools were closed Tuesday as a safety measure.  

The full extent of the damage wrought in the latest American city, where simmering tensions over police treatment of young blacks have exploded, was likely to become clearer during the day.  

Thousands of police and National Guard troopers were deployed to back up officers as the protest spread on Monday evening. 

At least 27 people were arrested and 15 police injured in clashes with stone-throwing protesters.  

The Baltimore Sun newspaper, quoting police, reported two people injured in separate shootings. The police were not immediately available to confirm this.  

Video evidence

The violence is the latest in a series of confrontations between US police and mainly young African American men enraged by police brutality and racism.  

Last summer's fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri triggered coast-to-coast protests. 

The unrest in Baltimore was sparked by the case of Freddie Gray, who died on April 19 of spinal injuries apparently suffered during his arrest earlier this month.    

The protests erupted shortly after thousands of mourners gathered for Gray's funeral in New Shiloh Baptist church in the city's impoverished Sandtown neighborhood. 

Lawyers for Gray's family say his death, after a week in a coma, was caused by severe spinal injuries sustained following his arrest.  

Six officers have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of a police investigation that is to be submitted to state prosecutors by Friday.   

Police confirmed Gray had requested medical help and an inhaler after he was detained and have acknowledged he should have received medical attention sooner.   

In video taken by bystanders, Grey can be heard howling in pain as his limp body is dragged into the van during his arrest.  

Maryland police superintendent Colonel William Pallozzi said he had ordered 500 police into the city and requested 5,000 more from the wider Mid-Atlantic region.   

And National Guard commander Adjutant General Linda Singh said she had 5,000 troopers ready and would deploy them in "massive force" to protect people and property.  

President Barack Obama was briefed on the rapidly evolving situation by Rawlings-Blake and his new Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the White House said.