Tensions ease in Baltimore as curfew lifts, schools reopen

EMBED </>More Videos

Thousands of police and national guardsmen continue to keep the peace in Baltimore. (WPVI)

Schools reopened across the city and tensions seemed to ease Wednesday after Baltimore made it through the first night of its curfew without the widespread violence many had feared.

With 3,000 police and National Guardsmen keeping the peace and preventing a repeat of the looting and arson that erupted on Monday, the citywide, 10 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew ended with no reports of disturbances.

Baltimore's school system opened and after-school sports and other activities were set to resume. Monday's riots began when high schools let out for the day and students clashed with police near a major bus transfer point.



But life was unlikely to get completely back to normal anytime soon: The curfew was set to go back into effect at 10 p.m. And in what promised to be one of the weirdest spectacles in major-league history, Wednesday afternoon's Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yards was closed to the public for safety reasons. Press box seats were full, but the grandstands were empty as the first pitch was thrown.

Activists stressed that they will continue to press for answers in the case of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man whose death from a spinal-cord injury under mysterious circumstances while in police custody set off the riots.

A few dozen protesters gathered outside the office of Baltimore's top prosecutor to demand swift justice. Organizers say they are rallying in support of State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who took office in January and pledged during her campaign to address aggressive police practices.


Mosby's office is expected to get a report from police on Friday. She will then face a decision on whether and how to pursue charges against the six police officers who arrested Gray.

The curfew got off to a not-so-promising start Thursday night when about 200 protesters ignored warnings from police and pleas from pastors and other community activists to disperse. Some threw water bottles or lay down on the ground.

A line of officers behind riot shields hurled tear gas canisters and fired pepper balls at the crowd, which dispersed in a matter of minutes.



Just before midnight Tuesday, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts declared the curfew a success.

"We do not have a lot of active movement throughout the city as a whole. ... Tonight I think the biggest thing is the citizens are safe, the city is stable," he said. "We hope to maintain it that way."

Police said 35 people were arrested after the curfew went into effect.



In an interview broadcast Wednesday on "The Steve Harvey Morning Show," President Barack Obama said the riots show that police departments need to build more trust in black communities.

The president also said underlying problems such as poor education, drugs and limited job opportunities must be addressed.

Looting, fires and gunfire broke out overnight in Ferguson, Missouri, during protests triggered by Gray's death in Baltimore. Ferguson was rocked by violence last year over the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer.

___

Associated Press writers Ben Nuckols, Juliet Linderman, Matthew Barakat, Tom Foreman Jr., Jessica Gresko, Brian Witte and Jeff Horwitz contributed to this report.


Related Topics:
civil rightspolice brutalityu.s. & worldbaltimore riotsMaryland
(Copyright ©2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments