Protests in Baltimore over the death of a black man who was fatally injured in police custody turned violent on Saturday, leading to dozens of arrests, injuries and damage to city storefronts.
More than one thousand people took the streets in the largest rally yet over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died on April 12 from injuries sustained while in police custody.
The initially peaceful demonstrations turned violent in the evening when what police described as “splinter groups” looted a convenience store, threw metal barriers at officers and smashed the windows of shops and police cars, the Associated Press reported.
Thirty-four protesters were arrested and six officers suffered minor injuries, according to police.
“I am profoundly disappointed to see the violence in our city this evening,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said at a press conference at City Hall on Saturday.
In her first public remarks since her brother’s death, Gray’s twin sister, Fredericka Gray called for protesters to stop the violence.
“Freddie Gray would not want this. Freddie’s mother and father does not want the violence” she said at the press conference alongside the mayor.
Police have acknowledged some errors in the Gray case on Friday, including failing to seek timely medical help and buckling Gray into a seat belt in the police van, which violates the Police Department’s policy.
Six involved officers have been suspended with pay.
The mayor and a coalition of about 25 Baltimore faith leaders issued a “call for peace” Sunday, asking citizens to honor the city’s “long tradition of peaceful and respectful demonstrations,” the Baltimore Sun reported.
A wake for Freddie Gray is being held Sunday afternoon. Funeral services will be held Monday morning.