Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said in a news conference Tuesday evening that 2,000 National Guardsmen would be dispatched throughout Baltimore, hours before a citywide curfew was set to go into effect, as officials aimed to prevent similar instances of looting and arson that erupted the day earlier following the funeral for Freddie Gray.
Hogan said more than 1,000 law enforcement officers would also be on hand, brought in from neighboring states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as from around Maryland and the District of Columbia.
“This combined force will not tolerate violence or looting,” he said, “which has led to the destruction of property and put innocent Marylanders at risk.”
That news conference came minutes after Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake defended her city’s response to the riots that erupted Monday and continued overnight. Officials said the incidents that later turned violent Monday were begun by youths who had gathered in West Baltimore.
“It wasn’t allowing rioters to loot and to burn down,” she said, in an interview that aired on CNN, noting that she and her team worked for hours on Monday to coordinate a response that was “appropriate” and wouldn’t make matters worse.”It was making sure we had an appropriate response to what was going on, and we swiftly moved in.”
Protests that had been peaceful days earlier turned violent following the funeral. At least 20 police officers were injured Monday as rioters set fire to buildings and looted local businesses. Police had made 235 arrests by Tuesday evening, including more than 30 juveniles, Rawlings-Blake said in an interview with CNN.
A citywide curfew announced yesterday goes into effect, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and will last one week.
Baltimore has been on edge since video emerged of Gray being dragged by officers to a police vehicle on April 12. Gray died a week later of a spinal injury sustained while in custody and was buried on Monday. The death of Gray is the latest in a series of high profile incidents that have fueled an ongoing national debate about police practices, especially when directed toward black people.