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National

Unrest Spreads In Baltimore; Md. Gov. Declares State Of Emergency

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We've been watching violence on the streets of Baltimore.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs who are trying to tear down what so many have fought for.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

That's how Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake described people protesting a death in police custody. The police commissioner is Anthony Batts.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANTHONY BATTS: This is not protesting. This is not your First Amendment rights. This is just criminal acts doing damage to a community that is challenged in some ways that do not need this and do not need to be harmed in a way that we have today.

INSKEEP: The commissioner spoke after the death of Freddie Gray. He was arrested after making eye contact with an officer and running away. He died in police custody and was buried yesterday. And soon afterward, people gathered in one of the most scenic parts of Baltimore. The Mondawmin Mall is near Druid Hill Park. It's a district of greenery and 19th-century buildings.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

MONTAGNE: And yesterday, it was a place where people threw cinderblocks at police and looted the mall. A 22-year-old who gave his name as Mo Jackson gave his version of what happened.

MO JACKSON: Police came and blocked off everything. An animal that's blocked off is going to - you feel me? - they're going to want a way to get out, so people start moving. Police start getting more aggressive. Before anything happened, they started firing smokescreens and all that. It made everything violent.

INSKEEP: Dozens of arrests were made across the city as violence continued into the evening. The police commissioner said 15 officers were injured, but that, quote, "all will be OK." Authorities are hoping their city will be, too. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.