In light of Baltimore rioting, new attorney general pledges 'full resources of Justice Department'
At least 15 police officers were injured in rioting in Baltimore on Monday, the day of the funeral for 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died after his spine was injured, a condition that many insist was sustained while he was in police custody.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake blamed “thugs” for the violence, the Baltimore Sun reports. “It’s idiotic to think that by destroying your city, you’re going to make life better for anybody,” she said.
Rawlings-Blake instituted a 10 p.m. curfew while Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called in the National Guard. Rioters looted stores, threw bricks and concrete at officers, and set cars on fire, the New York Times reports.
The Justice Department has launched an investigation into police treatment of Gray, who was arrested on April 12. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was sworn in on Monday, issued a statement calling for an end to the violence, CNN reports. She said that, in the coming days, she would send two officials to Baltimore to meet with community leaders: Vanita Gupta, leader of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Ronald Davis, director of Community Oriented Policing Services.
“As our investigative process continues, I strongly urge every member of the Baltimore community to adhere to the principles of nonviolence,” Lynch said in the statement. “In the days ahead, I intend to work with leaders throughout Baltimore to ensure that we can protect the security and civil rights of all residents. And I will bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing and securing an end to violence.”