Latest on Police-Custody Death: More Protests in Ferguson

30 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Baltimore death sparks protests in New York, Boston.

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. Baltimore – Protesters marched against police violence in cities from New York to Boston on Wednesday, as troops stood by in Baltimore to enforce a curfew imposed after civil unrest over the death of a 25-year-old black man. 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 marches were the latest in a string of demonstrations against racial profiling and police use of lethal force sparked by the deaths of unarmed African-American men in Cleveland; Ferguson, Missouri; New York and elsewhere in the past year.

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. Late Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that it had obtained a sealed police report, written by police, in which the second prisoner in the van purportedly said he could hear Gray “banging against the walls,” leading the unidentified prisoner to conclude Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself.” The prisoner was in a different cell in the van and couldn’t see Gray. 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.

Dozens of police officers moved in with plastic handcuffs and began making arrests while officers with batons pushed the crowd back onto the sidewalk Thousands more protested in New York, the capital Washington and Boston in solidarity, as simmering anger over alleged police brutality against blacks and discrimination again bubbled to the surface. 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.

On Friday, the Baltimore Police Department is turning over to state prosecutors the results of its internal investigation into Brown’s death, though the findings won’t be made public immediately. 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.

Denver Police Department said it used pepper spray and that eight men and three women were detained for offences including “resisting police, disobedience to lawful orders, obstructing roadways, and interference.” Nikea Ramsey, whose brother was shot and killed in an encounter with Boston police in 2012, told The Associated Press that: “Me and my family, we stand with Baltimore. Plenty of people are skeptical about this leak. “We disagree with any implication that Freddie Gray severed his own spinal cord,” Gray family lawyer Jason Downs told The Post. “We question the accuracy of the police reports we’ve seen thus far, including the police report that says Mr.

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. Protesters in the mostly black city of Baltimore sought answers about the fate of Freddie Gray, who died after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody. 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.

She said that Gray was not put in a seatbelt because, despite his being handcuffed, “he still has his teeth and he still has his saliva,” the police “didn’t want to reach over him.” Peter Weber 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. 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 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.

Meanwhile, dozens of people arrested in earlier violent demonstrations in Baltimore were being released early Wednesday evening because police were unable to complete their paperwork in time, the state public defender’s office said. 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. The releases were the result of a logjam for police who were scrambling to pull the necessary paperwork to file charges at the same time they were trying to keep peace on the city’s streets, Kowalczyk said. 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.

We’re not giving up on them.” Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, protesters planned Thursday afternoon to conduct a “Philly is Baltimore” demonstration at city hall. 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. The district attorney is not pressing charges, saying evidence indicates that Tate-Brown was reaching into his car for a loaded pistol, but a lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges that officers planted the gun. 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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