After weeks of turmoil and social unrest, things could finally be calming down in Baltimore. Following a night of peaceful protests, the city has lifted its curfew and the National Guard is prepping to exit the city. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement that her “goal has always been to not have the curfew in place a single day longer than was necessary.”
Originally the mayor had ordered the city wide curfew and the governor had sent in the National Guard troops after an outbreak of violence following the death of Freddie Gray. Gray was a 25-year-old black man who suffered a fatal injury while in police custody. He died in the hospital a week after his arrest which was captured on a bystander’s cell phone.
Baltimore’s chief prosecutor last week charged six police officers involved in the April 12th arrest with a range of crimes including murder and manslaughter. The curfew was from 10pm to 5am and was enforced from Tuesday to Sunday. Many workers throughout the city complained of lost wages because businesses would shut down hours before curfew to allow employees to return to their homes.
Even with the curfew in place, protests continued to spill out onto the Baltimore streets after 10pm, resulting in dozens of arrests. Due to the curfew, the Baltimore Orioles postponed games and played an entire game in front of an empty stadium.
Gray’s spine was 80 percent severed and he had stopped breathing by the time he received medical help following his arrest. He soon slipped into a coma and passed on April 19th. Gray was apparently shackled by his ankles and wrists and left unfastened on his stomach as the police van drove around Baltimore after his arrest. Despite his numerous requests for medical attention, the officers refused to call for medical assistance.