BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — Ten thousand people are expected to come into Baltimore today to rally for justice for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died in police custody.
After Friday’s announcement that the six police officers, involved in Gray’s arrest when he allegedly received his critical injuries, were charged celebrations began in the streets of Penn-North — the area where Monday’s violent riots started and the place where Gray was initially taken into police custody.READ MORE: Bowie Shaken After Possible Tornado Leaves Uprooted Trees, Power Outages
“To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America, I heard your call for ‘No Justice, No Peace,’ your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man,” City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Friday during her announcement of the charges.
But protestors said Friday — there was still more to do — and that they were continue to rally until justice is done.
“Right now, this is just one step, one step to the beginning,” said Juan — a friend of Gray’s Friday.
Gray’s stepfather, Robert Shipley, said the family was happy the officers were charged, and he reiterated a plea to keep all public demonstrations peaceful.
“We are satisfied with today’s charges; they are an important step in getting justice for Freddie,” Shipley said. “But if you are not coming in peace, please don’t come at all.”
The family lawyer, Billy Murphy, said the charges are “a first step but not the last,” adding that Baltimore now has an opportunity to set an example for cities across the nation grappling with police brutality.
“The overwhelming number of people who have protested over the days didn’t know Freddie personally, but the people of Philadelphia, New York, Cincinnati, and in numerous cities and towns are expressing their outrage that there are too many Freddie Grays,” Murphy said. “If Freddie Gray is not to die in vain, we must seize this opportunity to reform police departments throughout this country, so there are no more days and times like this.”
On Saturday, two separate events are planned.
A group met in Gray’s Gilmore Homes neighborhood. From there, they began marching to City Hall.
WJZ‘s Christie Ileto has been marching with the protestors and says people from all over the DMV and even as far as Oakland, California.READ MORE: Several Houses In East Baltimore Will Be Torn Down Over North Avenue Sinkhole, Mayor Says
“I saw Baltimore as being Oakland. Everytime there’s another uproar with losing a life to police brutality, Oakland joins in and we protest too and so since I do it there all the time, I felt it was my duty to come here and do it,” Nina Moore said.
WJZ‘s Marcus Washington spoke with gang leaders about why they are joining forces.
“United is key. You’ve got to be a collective whole to try to sit there and make something happen. Just one can’t do it. Us being together is a better outlook in the whole situation,” one member said, wearing an “I Bleed Baltimore” t-shirt.
The group of marchers are meeting up with the national rally at city hall around 2 p.m.
James, who grew up in Baltimore, spoke to WJZ’s Rick Ritter about why he brought his son back with him to the city for the protest.
” I felt it was important for him to understand the fight you know the community faces,” he said. “and being a young, black man I want him to feel the impact of what happens when — the plus and the minus of both — you need to protest and you need get your point across, but there’s also some disadvantages to protesting the wrong way, like when people turn to rioting.”
Malik Shabazz, the current president of the National President of Black Lawyers for Justice, spoke at city hall.
He asked all candidates of the 2016 presidential election, “what are you going to do to end police brutality?”
Black Lawyers for Justice is expecting at least 10,000 people to show up for a protest rally Saturday in downtown Baltimore.
Shabazz said he expects even more people to show up now that the officers have been charged.MORE NEWS: 19-Year-Old Man Dies After Being Shot In West Baltimore
“Our rally will proceed as a victory rally,” he said. “It will be a rally for justice and against police brutality.”