By Leah Walker
Maryland’s governor declared a State of Emergency and called in the National Guard after police and youth clashed in violent confrontations Monday afternoon.
Shortly before 3 p.m., an Instagram message was posted to the social networking site urging high school students to converge at a popular mall.
“All High Schools Monday @ 3 we going to Purge from Mondawmin to the Ave, Back to Downtown,” the message said, indicating they planned to steal from businesses in the mall and head to the city’s center.
Earlier in the day, police announced on Twitter, another social media site, that they had received a “credible threat” that three gangs had agreed “to take-out law enforcement officers.”
“I call the National Guard into action and states service…during this emergency period, to engage, deploy and coordinate available resources,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in an executive order.
Tensions have been rising between police and citizens since Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American man, died in police custody on April 19.
Gray was arrested after he “fled unprovoked upon noticing police presence,” officials said. Police said he was carrying a weapon clipped on the inside of his pants. Following the arrest, he was critically injured and later died.
On Monday, Gray’s family, elected officials, clergy and a representative of President Obama attended a highly publicized funeral for Gray and he was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.
Approximately 40 Baltimore police officers were originally sent to Mondawmin Mall to maintain peace as the teens began breaking into businesses and destroying property. Officers from Prince George’s County and Anne Arundel County have been assisting Baltimore police.
Eight officers were injured and one was unconscious.
“We’re going to use the appropriate methods to make sure people can get home safely,” Baltimore Police Capt. Eric Kolwalczyk said. Police used tear gas and pepper balls to disperse crowds of unruly people.
Several vehicles were set on fire and the Maryland Transit Administration shut down stations around Mondawmin Mall.
Officials closed city schools early and cancelled after school activities. Anne Arundel County schools cancelled field trips into the city until Sunday, May 3. The University of Baltimore and Baltimore City Community College closed and Coppin State University warned students to remain on campus and stay away from the area near the mall.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake extended the city’s youth curfew to all residents from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for a week.
Photo Credit: Luv Peace
To see more photos of the chaos that was caused on April 27, click here.