The NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, pleaded Tuesday for an end to the Baltimore violence that left more than a dozen police officers injured, local businesses looted and buildings burned Monday night. “The city of Baltimore now burns in the flames of violence that may leave more dead,” Cornell Williams Brooks, the group’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
Brooks condemned the agitators, saying they used the police-involved death of Freddie Gray as an excuse to spark riots across the city. Gray, 25, was arrested April 12 and suffered a spinal cord injury while in police custody. He died one week later. Monday’s riots occurred in the hours after Gray’s funeral.
“The loss of more lives will neither comfort Mr. Gray’s family nor explain the incidents that led to his death,” Brooks’ statement continued.
On Monday night, groups of city residents and other protesters seemed to disregard Gray’s family’s calls for peace, setting afire 144 vehicles and 15 buildings, the office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. Police made more than 200 arrests.