Baltimore police keep baseball fans in stadium during massive Freddie Grey protest

On the 25th of April, a massive protest took to the streets of Baltimore demanding justice for Freddie Grey, whose neck was broken by Baltimore police. Both before and after the City Hall rally, protesters marched on the baseball game at Camden Yards. Due to the protests, police “advised” baseball fans to remain in the stadium.I do not know if that was legally binding. The mainstream media reported at least 5 cop cars smashed up. Until at least 6PM it seemed this huge protest was able to chase Baltimore’s killer cops right off the street.After that things got rough

Video-Protesters confront police at station near Gilmor Homes where Freddie Grey was killed
Video-the first of two sieges of Camden Yards
Video-no violence in 1st pass thru Inner Harbor as bystanders/cops did not provoke it
Very good Popular Resistance youtube video including battle with tailgaters and smashing of cop cars

At the siege of the police station near Gilmor Homes (where Freddie Grey was beaten to death by police), I heard a secondhand report that police had used racial slurs over the police radio at least once. There was also a Twitter report that a presumably white baseball fan held by police refusing to let the baseball fans out of the stadim called the protesters “Ghetto Trash.” At the stadium there was a pen full of riot cops with protesters having mostly a free hand outside, like a circa 2003 IMF protest in reverse. The stadium was less than half full as the game began, it is being reported that is because the stadium was difficult for the fans to approach without seeing protesters. At one point I overhead a police radio message ordering “do not send your people into the crowd,” presumably ordering undercovers to withdraw or not enter the protest.

Late in the protest there were worries by some of the scouts that police were attempting to maneuver to trap the protesters, but this proved ineffective. Unable to trap the protest, the cops instead trapped thousands of baseball fans at the Oriole game inside the Camden Yards stadium. This means the Freddie Grey protest not only avoided being kettled by police but managed instead to kettle the entire baseball game, A kettle is normally when police surround a protest and refuse to let anyone leave, sometimes the prelude to an illegal mass arrest. Where I was in the protest nobody seemed aware that police were holding an entire stadium full of baseball fans prisoner. The stadium was an economic target, perhaps one big enough to force the Mayor of Baltimore to listen to demands for justice for Freddie Grey.

An interesting tactic used during the day was the strategic use of cars brought in a caravan to the protest, someone said this was unique to Baltimore.

A lot of the violence was directly instigated directly by police or in some cases by baseball fans. When I was with the march through the Inner Harbor, protesters passed right through throngs of tourists without bothering anyone that was not wearing a badge. On the other hand, the popular resistance video shows a white “bystander” throwing a stone at African-American protesters and instantly being counterattacked. Somehow he avoids being tackled and escapes. There is also a report of a single woman police officer “instigating” violence by the stadium.

An ugly report emerged from multiple sources inside the protest that all week the police had been photographing protesters, then comparing their shots to lists of outstanding warrants and arresting people as they left on warrants up to two years old. I did not see that today, but perhaps this was because of the overwhelming numbers. More than a few protesters were masked up because of these reports. Due to the large numbers the cops largely stayed out of sight unless behind barricades for the first several hours of the protest. Two occupied police cruisers either attempted to drive through the crowd or got trapped, they barely managed to escape the wrath of the people in one piece. That looked like a barebecue waiting to happen but somehow those cops managed to push their cars right through people trying to physically hold them back without running anyone over.

Part of the crowd disengaged the stadium and marched on the inner harbor, bringing tourist traffic to a halt. I heard someone from Baltimore’s equivalent of the Golden Triangle BID people here in DC warn a fast food joint with locked restrooms to bring in their outside metal chairs. They were told “that’s not a happy crowd over there!” Mainstream media reported a number of broken windows and even a looting incident, but the only attempt I personally saw to break a window failed as the object thrown at it bounced away harmlessly. Some of these shop windows are surprisingly tough, they are not like house windows. Almost all of what I personally saw people target was police or police related, except for the general ideas of Marching on the baseball stadium and the Inner Harbor.

The first time cops managed to arrest a protester was reported to be a little after 7:30PM. Shortly before 7PM Cops read something over a sound system, I may have faintly heard it but could not make out the words. It was at this time that I heard the reports from scouts of riot cops on the move, probably by the stadium. At that point large numbers of people in the Inner Harbor protests started running North to get out of the target area, from where I was it appeared the protest was over. This proved not to be the case, as other protesters, presumably those closer to the stadium held their ground and called what had possibly been a bluff. At least once police charged into an area held by protesters, only to have protesters immediately take it back. At 9 PM there was a report of a police helicopter being used to issue a dispersal order over a loudspeaker. As late as 11:30PM DeRay Mckesson published a Vine video clip showing protesters still in the streets. There have been protests every day, almost continuously in Baltimore for the past week demanding justice for Freddie Grey, whose died of a broken neck inflicted by six Baltimore police officers.

The Mayor of Baltimore may not care about Freddie Grey or about African Americans in West Baltimore, but you can bet your BMW she cares about Camden Yards, well heeled Orioles fans, and the Inner Harbor! Can you hear the people now, Mr Mayor?


Protesters approaching the Camden Yards baseball stadium

No good cops

The massive march comes south towards City Hall-and the baseball stadium

Riot cops behind barricades at Camden Yards. A huge crowd is behind the second barricade on the other side of them, and more protesters were coming to this side where a second front line was established

Riot cops charge at protesters: Photo by Harris from the Post. Reports are at least one such charge failed, with protesters taking back the area they were holding

A smashed cop car earlier in the day: Photo by James From the Internet

Cops chasing protesters: Photo by Jelani Cobb. Protests continued long after dark and this is in daylight.

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