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101 people released without charge after 48 hours in Baltimore police custody

According to a Baltimore public defender, more than 100 people were taken into police custody Monday and held for 48 hours without proper paperwork. Video by Joshua Barajas.

One hundred and one people were held inside Baltimore Central Booking for 48 hours before being released Wednesday night on expired time.

The group was arrested in connection with the riots that broke out on Monday after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, and, according to Natalie Finegar, deputy district public defender for Baltimore City, many taken into booking without representation, bail or proper paperwork that showed probable cause.

The office of the public defender received reports that many of those detained had not received food for 18 hours and several had been crammed into small holding cells.
Finegar said her office filed habeas petitions on the group’s behalf, alleging that people been illegally detained.

Finager said she spoke with 82 of the individuals released last night. Not one, she said, had any clue as to why they had been arrested in the first place. Most told her that they’d been picked up while walking home, or exercising their first amendment rights.

Baltimore Police Department spokesman Capt. Eric Kowalczyk told the Baltimore Sun: “There was a chaotic situation. We had officers being attacked, officers being injured.”

“These were lawful arrests for acts of violence,” he said.

According to The Guardian, one rioter turned himself in and was charged on eight criminal counts. He’s now being held on a $500,000 bail.

Though this initial group has been released, they could still be charged. Finegar said that the Baltimore City Police Department and the Attorney General legally have one year to file misdemeanor charges.

We’ve reached out to the Baltimore Police Department and are waiting for comment.