First the good news about Baltimore, Maryland in this summer of unrest. While there have certainly been some protests and demonstrations, the city has largely avoided the rioting and looting plaguing other cities around the country. Both the police and City Hall have earned praise, including from the Governor, for their handling of demonstrations. With very few exceptions, these events have remained calm. The police have been out in force, maintaining order (and curfews where required) while allowing people to make their voices heard. Some protesters complained about the police being “too aggressive” in keeping everyone in line, but it seems to have worked out. And the city’s leadership is crediting the lessons they learned during the Freddie Gray riots. (Baltimore Sun)
The recent gatherings in Baltimore have been largely peaceful, and clashes between police and the public did not materialize as they did in so many other cities earlier this month, which Police Commissioner Michael Harrison attributed to lessons learned in 2015 and from his own experiences working for the New Orleans Police Department after Hurricane Katrina.
Though several officials, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, complimented law enforcement on its response to the recent protests, some activists have criticized the police department, saying officers used aggressive tactics during the recent demonstrations.
In 2015, Baltimore’s response to the unrest following the death of Freddie Gray was also criticized when 235 people were arrested, 20 officers were injured, and nearly 300 businesses were damaged, with about a dozen burned.
As I mentioned above, that’s the good news. It’s a shame that it took something like the complete debacle of the Freddie Gray riots for them to get up to speed, but they did it. Other cities might be able to benefit from this by studying just how Baltimore has been handling the protests.