Newspaper article Roll Call

DOJ to Probe Baltimore at Maryland Delegation's Request

Newspaper article Roll Call

DOJ to Probe Baltimore at Maryland Delegation's Request

Article excerpt

Updated: 8:11 p.m. | Maryland Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin said Monday the Justice Department is moving forward with an independent investigation into the death of a Baltimore man who died in police custody that has fueled days of protests and looting in the city.

The Justice Department announced the criminal probe April 21.

Cardin and fellow Maryland Democrat Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski told reporters that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Gov. Larry Hogan were working closely together to quell the violence and vandalism that has erupted in the city.

As the sun set on Baltimore after an afternoon of police clashes with protesters, the two veteran Maryland lawmakers attempted to put the nationally televised images of violence into perspective.

According to Mikulski, approximately 300 high school students vandalized private property and lashed out at police, which she condemned as "very regrettable," pointing out it was only a small number compared to the number of people who were protesting non- violently.

"The violence toward police, toward private property and the disrespect to Freddie Gray -- he was laid to rest today in an enormously dignified way," Mikulski said. "But of the 300 kids that rioted, 85,000 went home."

In a statement released early Monday night, Mikulski said: "It's time for calm. It's time for the kids to go home. It's time to remember the vast majority of Baltimore's citizens are law abiding."

Mikulski she had been in touch with Rawlings-Blake and a school superintendent and was waiting to hear what additional help the mayor needed from the federal government. Cardin said he believed his office may have been in touch with Hogan's office.

Neither Mikulski nor Cardin weighed in on whether the National Guard needs to be called into the city, with Mikulski instead expressing support for Hogan and Rawlings-Blake.

Cardin and Mikulski, along with Democratic Maryland Reps. Elijah E. Cummings, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes, sent a letter on April 21 requesting the federal criminal and civil rights investigation into the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray of Baltimore.

"While the vast majority of police officers act within the law to serve and protect their communities, incidents like this degrade the trust necessary to maintain the relationship between law enforcement and communities," the legislators wrote. …

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