Mourners in Baltimore Recall Freddie Gray After Day of Protests
His funeral is scheduled for Monday
Pastor Jamal Bryant told the congregation at Empowerment Temple AME Church that “somebody is going to have to pay” for the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died a week after an encounter with police left him with serious injuries.
Bryant told churchgoers, almost all of them black, that if “you’re black in America your life is always under threat.” Bryant also addressed the violence that erupted Saturday night during what began as a peaceful demonstration attended by more than a thousand people.
Some 34 people were arrested, according to Baltimore Police Department, and six police officers sustained minor injuries. After services were over Bryant, whose church will pay for Gray’s funeral, met with the family. He said after the meeting that they are “holding on” and that they don’t want violence.
Bryant said marches and demonstrations would continue but that “violence never leads to justice.”
A wake was being held Sunday afternoon at Vaughn Green East funeral home, and Gray’s funeral is planned for Monday.
Police said extra officers would be deployed throughout the city over the weekend.
Just before nightfall Saturday, groups of protesters marched from City Hall to the Camden Yards baseball stadium, where the Baltimore Orioles played the Boston Red Sox. Fans were told to briefly stay inside the stadium until the police were able to clear an intersection outside of the venue.
However, a smaller group apparently splintered off and looted a convenience store, threw tables and chairs through storefront windows, shattering the glass. One group smashed the window of a department store inside a downtown mall and, at one point, a protester tossed a flaming metal garbage can toward a line of police officers in riot gear as they tried to push back the crowd.
Earlier, a group of protesters smashed the windows of at least three police cars and got into fights with baseball fans outside a bar.
Fire officials said roughly 1,200 protesters gathered at City Hall Saturday afternoon to protest Gray’s death, which has prompted near-daily demonstrations since he died April 19. Gray was arrested one week before that when officers chased him through a West Baltimore neighborhood and dragged him into a police van.
Police acknowledged Friday that Gray should have received medical attention at the spot where he was arrested — before he was put inside a police transport van handcuffed and without a seat belt, a violation of the Police Department’s policy.
Gray was arrested after he made eye contact with officers and ran away, police said. Officers held him down, handcuffed him and loaded him into the van. While inside, he became irate and leg cuffs were put on him, police have said.
Gray asked for medical help several times, beginning before he was placed in the van. After a 30-minute ride that included three stops, paramedics were called.
Authorities have not explained how or when Gray’s spine was injured.