A number of police officers were injured and a squad car has been set ablaze in the city of Baltimore Maryland. Criminal gangs in Baltimore have threatened that more attacks against police are to come.
The attacks came after protests and threats of further violence following the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died on Saturday April 18th after a week of treatment at a Baltimore Hospital. Gray, 25 was in a police vehicle, being transported, when he suffered spinal injuries that proved to be fatal.
Today (Monday the 27th), police said that protesters and criminals alike issued a call for a “purge” to begin at 3PM ET. The term “Purge” is a threat derived from the horror film “The Purge” – a film based in a dystopian future where all crime is excused for one night a year.
Social Media accounts for the Baltimore PD made is clear that the criminals had made good on their threats to harm police. A twitter message from the official BPD twitter account added “a group of juveniles in the area of the mall were blocking traffic, and there were reports of rock throwing”. Seven police officers have been reported injured, with one officer having been knocked unconscious and others suffering from broken bones.
The BPD SWAT team was on the scene with armored vehicles (likely military surplus M.R.A.P’s). In addition, a number of businesses have closed their doors early. At least one college campus has been closed.
“It’s a group of lawless individuals” – BPD Capt. Eric Kowalczyk
While the group claims to be ‘fighting for the truth’; it seems that the real truth is that they wish recreate the destruction seen last year in Ferguson, Missouri, where violent protests against police lead to looting and what has been referred to as ‘Mass-Arson’.
The similarities between the cases of Michael Brown and Gray may be few, but it seems that the protests and those who are propagating them, are one and the same.
Before suffering the injuries that led to his death, Gray had been chased by a number of officers through a Baltimore neighborhood. Once he had been captured, he was resisting arrest and police were forced to use leg restraints while transporting him.
Paramedics were called after a thirty minute ride, including three stops, and it was discovered that Gray’s spine had been nearly severed. Authorities have not yet explained the circumstances of the injury.
Even as protests turned ugly on Saturday, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made it clear that protesters had been given space “to destroy”.
“I worked with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech,” the mayor said. “It’s a very delicate balancing act because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”