Hundreds of Maryland National Guard troops arrived in Baltimore Tuesday morning, with approximately 1,500 more expected to arrive by the end of the day. Their mission – to restore peace in a city rocked by chaos only one day earlier.
According to the Army Times, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency and placed a daily curfew on Baltimore residents beginning Tuesday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The National Guard has been called in to restore order in the city plagued by riots sparked by the death of Freddie Gray.
Gray died from fatal spinal injuries suffered while he was in police custody, arrested after making eye contact with officers and then running away. It has been reported that he was then held down, handcuffed and placed into a van. When he became irate in the vehicle, police put leg cuffs on him.
Although Gray asked for medical assistance multiple times, with requests starting before he was even placed in the van, police did not call paramedics until after he was transported. Police have since acknowledged that Gray should have received help at the location of his arrest and before the 30-minute ride.
To make matters worse, the incident took place during a time of racial tension concerning police and their treatment of black suspects. Gray was African-American. Officials have not released the races of the officers involved in the event.
After Gray’s funeral, several protestors became violent. Rioters have looted businesses, set police vehicles on fire and set fire to a pharmacy. They even threw bricks at police officers. By the end of the evening, it was reported that over 20 officers were injured, there were nearly 150 vehicle fires, at least 15 structure fires and about 200 rioter arrests made.
The Inquisitr reported that National Guard spokesman Col. Charles Kohler has stated that troops will coordinate with Baltimore police and offer added security for “critical infrastructure.” He noted that the Guard would stay as long as needed and had the ability to send as many as 5,000 armed soldiers.
Family attorney Billy Murphy stated that Gray’s family were shocked by the violent outrage. They are staying out of the limelight with the hopes of organizing a peaceful march at a later date. According to Murphy, the family did know the riot was going to happen and are urging calm amongst the protestors.
“They don’t want this movement nationally to be marred by violence,” said Murphy. “It makes no sense.”