BALTIMORE — Authorities in a helicopter told media in Baltimore to move or possibly face arrest, CNN’s Chris Cuomo said from the scene shortly after the 10 p.m. curfew began on Tuesday.
However, just 20 minutes later the Baltimore Police Department tweeted that members of the media with credentials are exempt from the curfew, but should use caution.
Police will enforce the curfew tonight, but have a “wide range of discretion” regarding how they enforce it, Baltimore police Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said. “Officers are going to use common sense” when deciding when and how to enforce the curfew, he said.
Less than an hour after the curfew began protesters had not left the scene, and the Baltimore Police continued to tweet about aggressive rioters throwing things at police. Also, a fire was ignited in front of the library. Police responded by deploying pepper balls into the crowd. Police also utilized bull horns, and said they would arrest people if necessary.
CNN’s Ryan Young said the crowd “definitely lessened” after police deployed pepper bullets and smoke canisters. But Chris Cuomo said some protesters simply moved elsewhere.
Since Monday, at least 20 officers have been injured in the riots and one is in critical condition, according to Baltimore Police. Also, at least 235 people were arrested, the city’s Police Department says. That figure includes 34 juveniles, with most of the adults arrested between the ages of 18 and 30.
From bricks to brooms
Laquicha Harper, a 30-year-old resident, called the violence embarrassing and heartbreaking, saying: “We owe it to ourselves to do better.”
She was among those who responded to clean up the mess from Monday’s violence.
Cars and building were burned. Police were hospitalized, businesses were looted, and hundreds of people were arrested.
“I understand that everybody is upset, I understand that tension is brewing … I’m here, I get it,” Harper said. “But there are better ways that we can handle our frustration. And they can’t hear us when we’re behaving this way.”
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that “some police aren’t doing the right thing” and that a lot of the tension between law enforcement and the black community stems from “a slow-rolling crisis” that has been brewing for decades.
Fixing it will require more investment in cities, criminal justice reform, better funding for education and soul-searching for some police departments, he said.
“If we really want to solve the problem, if our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could. It’s just it would require everybody saying this is important, this is significant. And that we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns,” the President said.
Still, no angst can excuse what Obama called the behavior of “criminals and thugs who tore up” Baltimore.
“When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing,” he said. “When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson. And they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities. That robs jobs and opportunity from people in that area.”