A nearly $16 million East Baltimore community center and apartment complex under construction were burned to the ground Monday night during riots that engulfed the Maryland city following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who died while in police custody earlier this month.
The community center and apartments were part of a project initiated by the Southern Baptist Church in Baltimore, which is located across the street. The church's pastor, Rev. Donte Hickman Sr., remains optimistic in the face of the massive fire that was witnessed by at least 60 congregants.
"We're going to rebuild. We're going to come back strong from this," said Hickman, who believes rioters are to blame for burning down the building that was to provide housing for senior citizens. more >>
The question of how and why Freddie Gray died with severe spinal cord injuries while in police custody has yet to be answered, but entertainers and athletes with ties to Baltimore are speaking up after their beloved city has been declared a State of Emergency following days of civil unrest.
NBA player and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was raised in Baltimore and expressed his sympathies for the Gray family. He took to Instagram to express his shock about Baltimore being called into a State of Emergency and called for people not to destroy it in the midst of their anger.
"I know my community is fed up. I'm all about fighting for what we believe in. The anger, the resentment, the neglect that our community feels right now, will not change overnight," he wrote. "Continue, fighting for what you believe in. But remember, it takes no time to destroy something. But, it can take forever to build it back up." more >>
Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man who died last week while in police custody, was laid to rest after an emotional funeral service on Monday where Christian leaders hailed him as a "martyr."
The suspicious death of Gray, 25, on April 19, has sparked nationwide protests and calls for justice after it was revealed that he was fatally injured while being taken into custody by police in West Baltimore on April 12 on weapons charges.
According to his family, his larynx was crushed and his spinal cord was "80 percent severed at his neck," as he rode in a police paddy wagon and he slipped into a coma before dying one week later. more >>
American business magnate and potential presidential candidate Donald Trump has blamed President Barack Obama for the riots that broke out Monday night in Baltimore City, arguing that Obama, as an African-American leader, has failed to have a positive impact on the "thugs who are destroying" the city.
"Our great African-American president hasn't exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore," Trump wrote in a Twitter message Monday night.
The Baltimore riots reminded me of a passage I read last eve from Richard Norton Smith's excellent new Nelson Rockefeller biography about the 1971 Attica prison riot.
About 1000 prisoners took over the New York prison, taking 42 security guard hostages, threatening their execution. An immediate effort by security forces to retake the prison was pressed only halfheartedly, ultimately withdrawing into a siege. The inmates demanded and received on site representation by Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, ACLU radical lawyer William Kuenstler and New York Times journalist Tom Wicker.
Predictably, Farrakhan and Kuenstler inflamed the crisis, with the latter demanding the prisoners be transferred to "non-imperialist" countries. Negotiations continued for days to no good effect, and finally Governor Rockefeller, falsely informed that hostages were being mutilated, ordered recapture of the prison. Forty three were killed, including 10 hostages, most of them mistakenly by security bullets. more >>
Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in Baltimore City Monday night and activated the National Guard as pockets of West Baltimore erupted in flames and rioters looted and clashed with police shortly after the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray who died on April 19, after suffering serious injury while in police custody.
"Today's looting and acts of violence in Baltimore will not be tolerated. In response, I have put the Maryland National Guard on alert so they can be in position to deploy rapidly as needed. I strongly condemn the actions of the offenders who are engaged in direct attacks against innocent civilians, businesses and law enforcement officers. There is a significant difference between protesting and violence and those committing these acts will be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law," Hogan warned in a statement released Monday night.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to the men and women in uniform who are actively working to stem this violence and several who [have] been injured in the line of duty. These malicious attacks against law enforcement and local communities only betray the cause of peaceful citizens seeking answers and justice following the death of Freddie Gray," said Hogan. more >>