STEPHEN JANIS, PRODUCER, TRNN: Frustration continued to mount in Baltimore. But unlike earlier this week when looting and violence engulfed the city, protesters appeared to focus their indignation on City Hall in a peaceful demonstration of unity and outrage.
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PROTESTER: Justice stand with me [inaud.] We just want to see the mayor.
JANIS: Students joined residents in one of the largest protests to date, as a crowd estimated in the thousands marched from Baltimore’s Union Station to Downtown, where they gathered in front of a heavily fortified headquarters of city government and renewed calls for justice for Freddie Gray.
Gray died while in police custody earlier this month after his neck was severed from his spine during an arrest, one of several African-American men in the past two years who have lost their lives after encounters with police in Baltimore.
But even as the crowd seemed to be bolstered by the optimism of a communal sense of focused indignation, elected officials huddled in City Hall where they met with Police Commissioner Anthony Batts behind closed doors. According to State Delegate Jill Carter who attended the meeting, emotions ran high as the Commissioner gave a limited briefing on the few details related to the case. Carter told The Real News Network the Commissioner said after several weeks of investigation there is still no evidence of injuries caused by use of force. The only injuries thus far are to his spine.
We contacted the police who confirmed that the Commissioner told the delegation there is no other evidence of use of force found thus far, but they declined to reveal exactly how the spinal injuries were caused. The police investigation could have impact on the final decision of the State’s Attorney on whether or not to prosecute the officers due to the Maryland Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights, which only allows police to investigate police.
The news comes as a city is on edge, awaiting more details of the investigation and waiting to see if prosecutors plan to bring charges against the six officers who have thus far been suspended with pay. Till then, protesters took their demands to the streets, where they hope the city officials ensconced behind armed guards would hear their pleas.
Stephen Janis, reporting for The Real News Network in Baltimore.