Baltimore death sparks protests in New York, Boston

30 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Baltimore Death Sparks Protests in New York, Boston.

NEW YORK — Hundreds of people rallied and marched in New York and Boston to protest the death of a Baltimore man who was critically injured in police custody as Philadelphia activists prepared for their own demonstration. BALTIMORE – Having weathered two all-night curfews with no major disturbances, Baltimore officials are now trying to manage growing expectations they will immediately decide whether to prosecute six police officers involved in the arrest of a black man who later died of injuries he apparently received while in custody. In an effort to be transparent, authorities have told the community they plan to turn over the findings of a police investigation into Freddie Gray’s death to a state’s attorney by Friday. The biggest show of people power was in Baltimore itself — epicenter of the latest racially tinged unrest to convulse the US — where several thousand mostly young demonstrators paralysed city blocks in a major rally through downtown to City Hall.

Protesters first rallied in Manhattan’s Union Square, where they chanted “No justice, no peace!” and “Hands up, don’t shoot!,” a reference to the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last year. New York City police arrested at least three people after hundreds of protesters gathered in Union Square and some of them tried to cross barriers to march through the streets. But protesters on the streets and high school students who met with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Wednesday have said there are rumors circulating that some kind of “verdict” will be rendered as soon as Friday. Dozens of police officers moved in with plastic handcuffs and began making arrests while officers with batons pushed the crowd back onto the sidewalk.

Both Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts spent much of the day Wednesday trying to explain that no final resolution to the case would come Friday. In Baltimore, thousands of peaceful marchers converged on city hall capping a day of calm in a city that two days earlier saw its worst rioting in decades.

In Boston, activists gathered in a park behind police headquarters in Roxbury and continued with a peaceful march to a park at Dudley Square, across from the Roxbury neighborhood police station. Hassan Murphy, a lawyer for Gray’s family, underscored their comments, saying, “This family wants justice and they want justice that comes at the right time and not too soon.” Gray, 25, was pinned to a sidewalk, handcuffed and hoisted into a police van where he was put in leg irons after Baltimore officers said he made eye contact with them and ran. Nikea Ramsey, whose brother, Burrell Ramsey-White, was shot and killed in an encounter with Boston police in 2012, said, “Me and my family, we stand with Baltimore.

No racists, no peace!” Many in the march were high school or college students. “We’re protesting (against) the ongoing injustices that police have perpetrated on black men particularly. The mayor and others tried to stay focused on the positive Wednesday, applauding residents for obeying the 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew that first went into effect Tuesday night and for preventing a repeat of Monday night’s violence. “Things are looking really good today,” Gov. This is too much and it’s getting out of hand.” In a statement, Darnell Williams, president and CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, said the civil rights organization “supports those who have chosen to exercise their First Amendment Right to peacefully assemble and let the world know that when we truly recognize that #BlackLivesMatter we take a large step towards ensuring that #AllLivesMatter.” Boston organizers said they want “amnesty” for the some 300 protesters and rioters who have been arrested in Baltimore, as well as a lifting of the city curfew and state of emergency declaration.

Nineteen buildings and dozens of cars burned in Baltimore on Monday in a spasm of violence. “This is for everyone who died wrongly at the hands of police,” said Noy Brown-Frisby, a 35-year-old hairstylist who attended Wednesday’s march with her young daughter. “The best (outcome) would be one where the officers were disciplined and officials realised what happened and owned up to their wrongdoing,” said Larry Little, 22, a Baltimore resident who joined the march on Wednesday. Today they look better than yesterday, so we’re making a lot of progress.” There were signs throughout the city of life getting back to normal, with schools reopening and cars rolling as usual through streets that had been cleared of debris. And a specially extended deadline for holding people without charge was expiring, so people had to be let go, Capt Eric Kowalczyk said, according to the Sun. The district attorney is not pressing charges in the December shooting death of Brandon Tate-Brown in Philadelphia, saying evidence indicates that he was reaching into his car for a loaded pistol. The violence in Baltimore prompted national figures – from the new US Attorney General Loretta Lynch to Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton – to weigh in and vow to work on improving law enforcement and criminal justice in minority communities nationwide.

The calm in Baltimore, for the second night running, was a far cry from the violence and looting which flared up there following the funeral of Freddie Gray on Monday. Lynch, sworn in as attorney general on Monday, called Baltimore’s riots “senseless acts of violence” that are counterproductive to the ultimate goal of “developing a respectful conversation within the Baltimore community and across the nation about the way our law enforcement officers interact” with residents. Associated Press writers Ben Nuckols, Juliet Linderman, Matthew Barakat, Tom Foreman Jr., Jessica Gresko, Brian Witte and Jeff Horwitz contributed to this report. The Baltimore neighbourhood that saw the worst of the violence was already filled with many burned-out buildings and vacant lots that had not been rebuilt since the 1968 riots that followed the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

In August, a white policeman shot dead a black teenager in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, triggering demonstrations in major US cities from Los Angeles to New York that were repeated when a grand jury declined to indict the officer. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles.

Maryland state governor Larry Hogan said he had been “very encouraged” by the previous 24 hours and said a semblance of normality was returning to Baltimore, a gritty city of 620,000 less than an hour’s drive from Washington. The large march initially met no resistance from police, but that swiftly changed as officers — who were deployed in significant numbers — moved in and made arrests. In Washington, there was a festive atmosphere as a well-organised march that peaked at about 1,000 ended at the White House, where protesters chanted and held signs reading: “Stop racist police terror.” Among the many startling images to emerge from Baltimore was that of an infuriated mother hitting her teenage son repeatedly for joining the demonstrations on Monday and dragging him away.

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