By Herman Fogus
BALTIMORE— Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the end of a curfew Sunday, six days after unrest and looting had forced her to implement it and brought a heavily armed police and National Guard presence to the city.
At a morning press conference, Rawlings-Blake said the curfew, which was in place from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily and initially had been scheduled for one week, was ending, “effective immediately.” In doing so, she expressed hope that peace would hold in the city and gratitude to residents for their actions following Monday’s destructive riots in West Baltimore.
“Right now, I’m very confident. What we saw over the past few days was not just the resiliency of our city, but also our communities coming together,” the mayor said outside the Mondawmin Mall in West Baltimore, one of the hardest hit flashpoints in Monday’s riots.
“We want to heal our city. We know we have challenges in Baltimore. We know that there’s work to be done. But what you saw in those last few days … is that we will get better. We will get through this. And we will do it as one Baltimore,” Rawlings-Blake also said.
“I still urge all within the Morgan Community to continue being good citizens, and to exercise prudent judgement in our decision-making,” said Morgan President David Wilson.
The announcement comes after a week of sporadic unrest and turmoil that began with an outbreak of riots and looting in West Baltimore on Monday and culminated on Friday with charges being brought against six Baltimore Police Department officers for the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Sandtown-Winchester man.
As she made her announcement, Gov. Larry Hogan, who had brought at least 2,000 National Guard troops into the city to aid police in quelling the unrest and enforcing the curfew, said he would be withdrawing those troops in the coming days, according to The Associated Press.
Hogan, who was in attendance at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church on North Fremont Street for a Sunday service, spoke outside the church to reporters. “We want to encourage everyone to come back to the city,” Hogan said. “It’s safe, and we’ve got calm and peace in the city, which is something we haven’t seen in a little bit.”