1000s of Troops Deployed as Baltimore Enters Chaos

Massive deployment seen day after violent riots wrought havoc in Baltimore, as protest of black man's death spirals out of control.

Ari Yashar,

US National Guard soldiers in Baltimore
US National Guard soldiers in Baltimore
Reuters

Thousands of National Guard troops and police forces from outside of Maryland are being deployed in Baltimore on Tuesday, after the previous night massive violent riots and looting inflicted extensive damage to the southern city, all after an African American man died from wounds sustained in police custody.

The violence on Monday night broke out just hours after 25-year-old Freddie Gray's funeral.

According to officials 15 buildings were destroyed, dozens of police officers were wounded, over 100 cars were set on fire, untold quantities of goods were looted, and around 200 rioters were arrested, necessitating the deployment Tuesday as the city braced for another round of violence, reports BBC.

As many as 5,000 troops could be deployed to the city's streets according to National Guard commander Linda Singh, who said "we will be out in massive force." She added armored vehicles will be deployed as well, although martial law will not be declared.

Likewise police officers from the entire Mid-Atlantic region are being pulled in to deal with the massive riots.

Gray died on April 19 after sustaining wounds to his spinal cord that left him in a week-long coma. Six officers involved in the case have been suspended, and the US Justice Department is investigating the circumstances of how he was wounded.

In an attempt to minimize the damage, Baltimore has been put under a week-long curfew that will affect schools and businesses.

Responding to the violence on Monday night, US President Barack Obama said, "there is no excuse for the kind of violence we saw yesterday. They are not protesters. They are not making a statement. They are stealing."

Amid the chaos, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has come in for sharp criticism for not taking a strong enough stance in putting down the violence.

Rawlings-Blake is particularly facing flack for saying on Monday that those who "wished to destroy" need to be given their space, remarks that were caught on film and which she initially denied saying before her office finally admitted she had made them, reports Fox News.

The statement, made at a press conference, can be seen below.

Speaking about Rawlings-Blake, Maryland's Republican Governor Larry Hogan said, "when the mayor called me, which quite frankly we were glad that she finally did, instantly we signed the executive order" to put assets in place to defend the city.

"We (had) our entire team prepared. ...We were trying to get in touch with the mayor for quite some time. She finally made that call and we immediately took action," he added.




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