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Recovering from riots, Baltimore tries to refocus on Freddie Gray

The presence of 3,000 police and National Guardsmen, as well as an overnight curfew, appeared to stabilize Baltimore. Tuesday night was not completely trouble free, but Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said the city is getting back to normal. Meanwhile, community leaders organized a march to refocus on the case of Freddie Gray. Hari Sreenivasan joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the city’s recovery.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Baltimore was a portrait of contrasts today, 48 hours after riots catapulted the city into crisis. In some places, people returned to normal routines, while, elsewhere, there were scenes that bordered on the bizarre.

    Hari Sreenivasan begins our coverage.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    The presence of 3,000 police and National Guardsmen, plus an overnight curfew, appeared to stabilize Baltimore. By and large, crowds who gathered last night demonstrated without incident.

  • WOMAN:

    I’m here to say that we can be peaceful. We still are upset, but we can be peaceful.

  • WOMAN:

    Go home tonight. That’s all we’re asking.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    That’s not to say the night was trouble-free. Brief scuffles broke out when the 10:00 p.m. curfew rolled around, and police arrested 35 people.

  • WOMAN:

    This is where we live. They can’t tell us to be in the house at 10:00. We live down the street. No. Uh-uh. HARI SREENIVASAN: But Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said today the city is getting back to normal.

  • GOV. LARRY HOGAN, (R) Maryland:

    Schools are open, businesses are open, the state government is open. We want to get people out there today, and going about their business. We think the city — there’s no question in my mind that the city is now safe.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Safe enough that the strains of classical music echoed downtown, as the Baltimore Symphony moved outside to play a free concert for young and old alike.

  • MICHAEL LISICKY, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra:

    We weren’t here to make any statement, other than to just kind of take a break, get together, play some music, and do so for everybody that was walking by or whatnot. That’s what we do.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    On the other hand, it was anything but normal at Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles played the Chicago White Sox in a stadium closed to the public.

    Meanwhile, community leaders organized a march to refocus attention on the case of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who died in police custody with a severe spinal injury.

  • NATHANIEL MCFADDEN, (D) Maryland State Senator:

    This issue has been with us throughout this nation of how especially African-American men, unarmed, are treated by law enforcement. This is simply the tip of an iceberg that has been with us too long.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    And, in Washington, newly installed Attorney General Loretta Lynch echoed that call, and pledged full assistance to Baltimore city officials.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And I spoke with Hari a short time ago.

    Hari, hello.

    You and the NewsHour team have spent this day on the ground in Baltimore. What are you seeing?

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Well, you know, it depends on what parts of the city that you go to how affected everyone is by this, because there aren’t any major disruptions to infrastructure, freeways, trains, or commerce.

    So people in some parts of the city are perfectly fine. And, of course, the other parts that we have seen over the past couple of days are still recovering.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Are people willing to talk about this? Do you find, you and the team, have you found some people receptive when you ask them what they’re thinking?

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Yes, you know, we saw a group of schoolchildren being led here on a field trip by their teacher because they were concerned about fears. And their teacher wanted to take them to City Hall, show them that the wheels of justice are in motion, that it’s not just the city, that the entire country is paying attention to what has happened here.

    There’s quite a few people that told our producers and myself, you know, we want to get the focus back to what happened to Freddie Gray. We want to figure out how to learn from this particular incident and have less of the focus be on some of the riots.

    I spoke to a 61-year-old who was doing needlepoint, and she was making an image of Jesus walking on water, and she said this is more likely to repeat itself than actually getting justice for Freddie Gray.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And, Hari, you minded us that in a way it depends on where you are in Baltimore, that there are different pictures of this depending on what part of the city people live in.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    That’s right. That’s right. There are certain neighborhoods that are still reeling from this. They’re still thinking about this on a — this is incredibly pressing to them, and this is all that they can think about, because, for a glimmer, they feel like the rest of the city and the rest of the country got a chance to see what they have to live through on a daily basis.

    And then there’s other parts of the city where life is pretty normal.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Hari Sreenivasan reporting for us from Baltimore, thank you.

    And in another development, Baltimore police said they will turn the results of their investigation into the death of Freddie Gray over to prosecutors, instead of issuing a public report.

    And hundreds of people gathered this evening for another protest. Organizers said they will march to City Hall. We will return to what’s driving the unrest in Baltimore and other cities later in the program.

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