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National Guard patrols Baltimore streets after night of violence

Baltimore business owners and volunteers began to clean up the mess after a night of violent rioting and looting, sparked after the funeral for Freddie Gray on Monday. More than 200 people were arrested during the riots, and 20 police officers were injured. More than 2,000 National Guard troops patrolled streets on Tuesday to enforce the start of a weeklong curfew. Gwen Ifill reports.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    Baltimore was a city in crisis today. Soldiers and police were out in force, determined to prevent a second night of rioting. Monday’s violence erupted after the funeral for Freddie Gray, who died in police custody with a severe spinal injury. Today, the fires were doused, and a tense calm prevailed.

  • MAN:

    This is Baltimore. We’re winners. We don’t lay down.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Volunteers were up at first light in Baltimore to start cleaning up the mess.

  • GERALD MILLER:

    It’s going to take people getting involved, getting in the trenches, not just standing behind a lectern or when the camera’s on, or whatever. You got to get down here in it with the people. This is where the people are. This is where they’re hurting.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The hurting started in West Baltimore and spread overnight, leaving shop owners to watch as their livelihoods burned. In all, 15 buildings and 144 vehicles were set on fire by hundreds of youthful rioters. More than 200 people were arrested, even as Freddie Gray’s mother appealed for the violence to stop.

  • GLORIA DARDEN, Mother of Freddie Gray:

    I want you all to get justice for my son, but don’t do it like this here. Don’t tear up the whole city, man. Just for him? It’s wrong.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Today, 2,000 National Guard troops patrolled streets, preparing to enforce the second night of a weeklong curfew. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said he will call in several thousand more officers from the Mid-Atlantic region as needed.

  • GOV. LARRY HOGAN, (R) Maryland:

    We’re still concerned about what might happen this evening. We’re continuing to bring more people in from around the state and around the country. We’re going to put as much manpower and as many resources as we can to make sure that we do not have that kind of situation tonight.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    And, in an extraordinary move, the Baltimore Orioles announced they will bar the public from tomorrow’s game with the Chicago White Sox. They canceled games last night and tonight.

    Meanwhile, there were questions about the city’s response. Police said they were outnumbered last night, with 20 officers injured, six of them seriously. But Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake defended her decision not to ask the governor for help sooner.

  • MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, (D) Baltimore:

    You know, there’s always going to be armchair quarterbacks that have never sat in my seat that see things differently, but this isn’t the first emergency that I have to deal with. But I know that you have to put in the work and manage the crisis on the ground. And that’s what we’re doing.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Other city leaders joined the mayor in condemning the rioting, and called for boosting the city’s economy to give hope to the young. BERNARD “JACK” YOUNG, President, Baltimore City Council: It is not about Freddie Gray. It is about the pain, the hurt and the suffering of these young people. And that is no excuse for them to loot, riot and destroy our city.

    I made a comment on yesterday out of frustration and anger when I called our children thugs. They are not thugs. They are just misdirected. And we need to direct them on a different path.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    And President Obama weighed in from the White House. He, too, criticized the rioters, but said it’s past time for national soul-searching on what drives the anger.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    If our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could. It just it would require everybody saying this is important, this is significant, and that we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns, and we don’t just pay attention when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped, but we’re paying attention all the time because we consider those kids our kids, and we think they’re important. And they shouldn’t be living in poverty and violence.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    As the president spoke, protesters in Baltimore staged a peaceful demonstration, watched closely by police in riot gear.

    We will have more on what the president had to say and take a closer look at the tensions in Baltimore later in the program.

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