Baltimore erupted in violence on Monday as hundreds of rioters looted stores, set buildings on fire and injured at least 15 police officers following the funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died after he was injured in police custody.
The riots broke out just a few blocks from the funeral of Freddie Gray and then spread through much of West Baltimore in the most violent U.S. demonstrations since looting in Ferguson, Mo, last year.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard as firefighters battled blazes set by looters and rioters with baseball bats smashed windows of cars and businesses.
Hogan said at a Monday evening news conference that what started out as a peaceful protest expressing legitimate concerns about how Gray died and how police handled his arrest had turned ugly with the help of “outside agitators” and no longer had anything to do with the earlier expressions of outrage over Gray’s death.
“This is lawless gangs of thugs causing damage to property and injuring innocent people,” Hogan said. “We’re not going to tolerate that.”
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake earlier announced a citywide curfew that would be imposed Tuesday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and last a week. The only exceptions will be medical emergencies or people heading to work.
“Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs, who in a very senseless way are trying to tear down what so many have fought for,” Rawlings-Blake said in a Tuesday evening news conference.