BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan thanked Baltimore city leaders and demonstrators for their efforts to keep gatherings this weekend peaceful for the most part.
We are continuing to monitor this situation closely and are ready to quickly respond to any changes on the ground. I also want to continue to stress the importance of reducing risks of spreading COVID-19 while protesters peacefully express their First Amendment rights.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) May 31, 2020
He showed his thanks to Mayor Jack Young, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, city and state police, and “the vast majority” of demonstrators’ efforts to keep the gatherings “safe and respectful,”
He added that he wanted to stress the importance of reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 while protestors peacefully expressed their First Amendment rights.
Earlier in the day, dozens of vehicles took part in a car caravan protest, which began in the city’s Station North neighborhood. Some stood holding signs reading “No justice, no peace, no racist police” and #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd.”
Demonstrators gathered at City Hall later in the day, and most remained peaceful.
Video also captured a bottle being thrown in the direction of police outside City Hall, and a Baltimore Police car that had its rear windshield and rear passenger window smashed out earlier in the day.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren reported that police arrived in riot gear around 9:30 p.m. after people set off fireworks outside City Hall and were seen standing on top of city-owned vans that were spray-painted with graffiti.
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) May 31, 2020
Protestors remained outside City Hall into the late hours of Saturday night, and there have been reports of several arrests made.
During a press conference Saturday, Mayor Jack Young urged people to protest peacefully.
“We will protect your right for peaceful protests,” Young said. “But I have zero tolerance for anything that approaches chaos and law-breaking.”
“I can’t have our city turned to chaos,” Mayor Young added. “We will not let outside influencers come into the City of Baltimore and create chaos.”
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said the department is helping citizens exercise their First Amendment rights. He added that they are in a constant state of planning and in contact with Maryland State Police.
In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, Gov. Larry Hogan said in 2015, when the Freddie Gray protests and riots occurred, the state acted “really decisively,” and sent in the National Guard and extra police presence to allow Baltimore residents to protest peacefully- a type of protesting that he thinks the country is seeing in many cities across America.