BALTIMORE – Violent mobs looted and overtook the west side of Baltimore Monday, injuring more than a dozen police officers and leaving a store and several vehicles in flames.
As night fell, looters took to Mondawmin Mall and a Save-A-Lot and Rite Aid in Bolton Hill, loading up cars with stolen goods, Baltimore Sun reported.
Fifteen police officers were injured in a clash with school-age children that began around 3 p.m., and two remain hospitalized, police Col. Darryl DeSousa said in a press conference Monday night, the newspaper reported. Earlier, police spokesman Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said one officer was unresponsive and others suffered broken bones.
Police arrested 27 people, DeSousa said.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake declared a curfew across the city starting Tuesday and for the next week, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for adults and 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for children aged 14 and younger. She drew a distinction between peaceful protesters and “thugs” she said engaged in rioting Monday intend on “destroying our city.”
“It’s idiotic to think that by destroying your city, you’re going to make life better for anybody,” Rawlings-Blake said.
At Rawlings-Blake’s request, Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency and activating the Maryland National Guard. The order does not affect citizens’ rights, but is required to activate the Guard and authorize federal assistance, Hogan spokeswoman Erin Montgomery said.
Lexington Market, a city courthouse and businesses including T. Rowe Price and Venable LLP said police warned them of large gatherings and protests downtown, days after protests over the death of Freddie Gray turned destructive. The University of Maryland, Baltimore, and numerous downtown businesses closed early out of fears of violence.
According to widely circulated flier, a high school “purge” was to take place at 3 p.m., starting at Mondawmin Mall and ending downtown. Such memes have been known to circulate regularly among city school students, based on a film “The Purge,” about what would happen if all laws were suspended.
A march spurred by the death of Freddie Gray, a man who suffered a spinal cord injury earlier this month after being arrested by city police.