Gov. Larry Hogan said today that he continues to focus on keeping the city safe in the wake of criminal charges filed against six Baltimore City Police officers in the death of Freddie Gray.
Hogan, speaking to reporters outside a west Baltimore fire station, said he has faith in the process that began Friday morning with Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby’s announcement.
“We believe in the criminal justice system,” Hogan said. “The process is going to play itself out. I don’t have much role in that process. We’re focused on keeping the city safe.”
“There’s three things going on here,” Hogan said. One is keeping the city safe. Two is the criminal investigation and three is the longer-term issues. I’m primarily focused on No. 1.
Hogan said the investigation and filing of charges all took place quickly.
The governor signed an executive order creating a state of emergency in the city following riots in portions of Baltimore. The order allowed Hogan, who has moved his office into the city, to bring in police officers from neighboring counties and states as well as up to 5,000 National Guard soldiers.
There is also a curfew in the city running from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. that remains in place.
Since issuing the order, the city has remained relatively peaceful.
Hogan continued calls for peaceful protests just a day after touring other areas of west Baltimore and speaking to residents and shop owners.
“We understand that emotions are still high, that there’s a lot of frustration out there,” Hogan said. “I’ve been incredibly impressed with the people of Baltimore. They care about their community. They’re concerned about their neighbors. I want to continue to ask for calm and peace. We’re going to be here to make sure — we’ve still got some very big protests and demonstrations going on tonight and tomorrow. We want to make sure people have the right to express their frustrations and their feelings in a safe manner. We want the protestors to be safe and the neighbors to be safe. That’s what my primary role here is. Later we’ll address some of the long-term concerns that people have. I’m here on one specific mission.”
The governor said he and other officials remain concerned about the potential for violence over the next few days.
State and city officials are preparing for potential problems. Just moments before the governor spoke to reporters, a column of military vehicles transporting soldiers moved west along the 1500 block of West Lafayette Street.
Hogan declined to answer questions about credible or specific threats.
“We’re going to make sure we have enough presence on the ground to take care of any eventuality. My hope is we’re going to continue to have peaceful protests but we know there are going to be a lot of people out tonight and more people in town tomorrow and we’re just going to have to stay vigilant. We’re just calling for people to be calm.”