BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There are new images of the frightening day Baltimore burned. People jumped on police cars, setting them on fire and officers were under attack. What could have prevented it?
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren reports the officers were frustrated without the resources and direction they needed.
New city surveillance camera video WJZ obtained along with recordings of police radio transmissions show how desperate things got for officers during the April 27th riot.
“I just got hit in the head with a brick, I’ve got glass in my eye. I’m down outside the mall,” a voice says.
“We have one female officer injured at the Midas. She sustained head injuries and is in and out of consciousness,” another voice is heard.
“We have injured officers, we need to get them out of here,” an officer exclaims.
“I need you to send everybody you’ve got,” an officer says.
The recordings also reveal police on the front lines did not have the equipment they needed.
“Officers are down! Can we get some expletive mace and some tear gas?” an officer shouts.
“I’m about the deploy the units with the pepper ball guns. We’re getting destroyed over her with these rocks and stuff,” another officer says.
“Crews are getting slammed now and we’ve got no shields. Do you think we can get somebody down here?” a voice asks.
It would be some six hours before the mayor and city officers even made a public address.
City school officers knew about the threat of the students nearby planning to storm the area around the mall. Despite warnings they would not shut down school early and the transportation hub here brought even more to the scene.
“Could you call MTA and tell them to cease the route coming to Mondawmin. They are still coming on, downloading kids that are joining the crowd,” an officer asks.
New video from North and Pennsylvania avenues shows people setting fires and destroying a police car. In the audio, you can hear the struggle to free several officers who became trapped.
“We need extraction for some of these people. Any officer in this area, come pick up some of these MTA officers, we can’t fit them in the bear cat,” an officer is heard.
The police union has described the response as a failure from top to bottom.
“Hold that line. Hold that line. Do not Advance. Hold the line,” someone orders.
“We got shelled down here, we’re getting creamed,” an officer says.
City officials have yet to give a full public accounting of what went wrong that day.