Bryan P. Sears//April 30, 2015
//April 30, 2015
Gov. Larry Hogan made a personal appeal for calm to residents and business owners along Pennsylvania Avenue on day four of a state of emergency imposed on Baltimore in the wake of violent protests Monday.
The governor made his appeal during a walking tour of the west Baltimore area that is just south of some of the most violent protests, rioting and looting. Hogan expressed concerns about potential public reaction to a police investigation that has been turned over to the city state’s attorney but not made public and about other protests scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
“We’re very pleased about the last 48 hours, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” Hogan told reporters. “We’re concerned. That’s why I’m out here trying to talk to the community trying to maintain the peace. Our concern is that we have big protests planned for this weekend. We have potential problems (Friday) and Saturday.”
“It’s not over yet,” Hogan told one man.” We want to tell everyone to please preach non-violence. It (violence) is not going to help the cause. We’ve got to keep everyone peaceful.”
Hogan said he wanted to prevent those potential problems from exploding into the looting, rioting and burning that took place Monday afternoon following the funeral of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man who died of injuries sustained while in police custody.
“We lost 200 businesses Monday night,” Hogan said, standing near a burned-out store. “Over 100 of them were minority-owned. A lot of them didn’t have insurance.”
Hogan’s tour and comments came hours after the Baltimore City Police Department delivered the findings of its investigation into the death of Freddie Gray to the state’s attorney for the city.
“We’ve exhausted all leads,” said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, adding that the investigation isn’t over and that detectives would follow up on additional details as they arise.
Investigators delivered the report to the Baltimore City state’s attorney a day earlier than Batts’ self-imposed May 1 deadline.
The exact contents of the investigation were not made public. Police did say that detectives discovered the police van transporting Gray made one additional stop that had not initially been known to police. That stop was captured by a private security camera, and police officials declined to elaborate.
Batts initially promised that the details would be made public but walked that statement back earlier this week.
Hogan said he was concerned that public expectations regarding the report would add to an already tense situation.
“People had expectations that were unrealistic,” Hogan said. “There wasn’t good communication. People are expecting an answer. We all want answers, but they’ve got to be patient. It takes a while to get the answers.”
Adding to that tension is a number of planned protests over the next two days, including one sponsored by a group that was involved in a similar march between the Inner Harbor and Oriole Park at Camden Yards that was punctuated with pockets of violence, looting and vandalism.
“I’m concerned that we have people coming in from all over the country,” Hogan said. “Some of them peaceful protesters. Some of them violent agitators. I’m concerned that we have a situation that could erupt at any time and we’re not out of the woods yet.”
While Hogan was mostly well-received in the west Baltimore area, some shop owners expressed anger and frustration with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
“Get rid of the mayor and you might get something done,” said Mattie Ownes, who operates Gospel Corner, her 18-year-old business, out of a stall in The Avenue Market. “She needs to help us but all she do is hang down the harbor.”
Another shop owner told Hogan, “Our leadership has failed.”
When Hogan responded that he was not there to point fingers, the owner of Kim’s Wireless Communications replied, “Somebody has to.”P