By WJZ Reporters Mike Hellgren, Ava-joye Burnett, Kelsey Kushner and Amy KawataBy Amy Kawata

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thousands of protesters gathered peacefully downtown in Baltimore, shutting down major roadways Monday evening, as they marched through the city to protest police brutality and systemic racism after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Floyd died on Memorial Day following an encounter with Minneapolis police. Cell phone video of his arrest showed former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he pleaded for help, telling Chauvin and other officers he couldn’t breathe.

However, in the overnight hours those peaceful protests took a turn as protesters clashed with police. At least six people were arrested, including a 74-year-old woman.

6 Arrested Overnight, Including 74-Year-Old Woman And Man With Long Gun, After Protesters Clash With Police In Baltimore

By 11 p.m. the group had dispersed outside City Hall, where police remained in riot gear. However after officers saw people setting off illegal fireworks and throwing objects near other protesters and police downtown, city police called Maryland State Police to help moderate crowds in the downtown area.

City Councilman Eric Costello said two people were arrested for throwing fireworks at police officers.

“The arrest was aided by a Baltimore community group who turned the man over to BPD,” Costello tweeted.

He later tweeted a trash can downtown was on fire.

Around midnight, police began charging the crowd, pushing them back and encouraging them to go home. WJZ reporter Kelsey Kushner reported seeing multiple people taken into custody.

On Monday afternoon, hundreds of people gathered for a youth-lead protest near the Baltimore Convention Center. The crowd later swelled to thousands as protesters marched downtown.

In a statement Monday evening, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said he was proud of the youth organizers who put together Monday’s demonstration which remained peaceful even with thousands of participants.

“Baltimore’s streets have been filled today with thousands of peaceful protesters, who are collectively expressing their First Amendment right.

“Today’s major protest is youth-led, and I am proud of Baltimore’s young people for continuing to be a positive national example of Democracy in action.

“My administration is working closely with Governor Hogan’s office and will remain in close contact with the State as peaceful protests continue in Baltimore. The State has provided law enforcement support to the City, as needed.  And, members of the Maryland National Guard have been close partners with a number of humanitarian missions in Baltimore related to our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Contrary to remarks earlier tonight from President Trump, our City does not expect to see an influx of active duty military personnel.

“Again, thank you to the thousands of peaceful protesters, who have taken to our streets in pursuit of social justice.”

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WJZ’s Ava-joye Burnett spoke to one doctor who was in the crowd with protesters Monday afternoon.

His sign read “white coats for black lives” and he said he was there to support his “black brothers and sisters,” noting, “the healthcare system has been complicit” in systemic racism.

By the time the group reached City Hall, it had grown to thousands. The group then started marching onto I-83 before police diverted them off the highway at the Chase Street exit. Officials have closed parts of the highway due to the protests. The MTA also suspended some of its Light Rail service.

Another group of protesters gathered by Douglass Homes and marched to Baltimore Police Headquarters.

Earlier in the day, a small group of protesters gathered downtown, chanting “no justice, no peace” and blocking traffic in some areas. The diverse group of protesters remained peaceful as they walked through the streets from City Hall, then downtown by Camden Yards and the Inner Harbor, before returning to City Hall.

As they moved through downtown Baltimore, they chanted, “Whose streets? our streets” and “Hey hey, ho ho, these racist cops have got to go.”

At one point, several police officers knelt alongside demonstrators, drawing cheers from the crowd.

By 8 p.m., the crowd that had gathered at City Hall had dwindled significantly.

The police department issued a statement that they are “committed to protecting rights and facilitating peaceful protests” and are urging anyone to call 911 if they see anything that could incite violence.

Police Sweeping Downtown Baltimore After Bricks, Bottles Found With Potential Accelerants

Police also said the Maryland National Guard helped them “in transporting personnel and resources in the downtown area,” but Councilman Eric Costello said the Guard was not on an active mission in the city.

Demonstrators in Baltimore remained peaceful over the weekend, with only a few violent incidents reported downtown Saturday night.

A group of around 50 people gathered at City Hall Sunday evening under the watchful eye of a heightened Baltimore Police Department presence. Nearby streets were barricaded by city trash trucks.

“I’m sorry last night got violent, but now you’re listening, now we’ve got your attention,” the protester, a teen named Marcus, said. “We’ve been protesting peacefully for years and nothing has changed.

Police reported arresting 14 people, including two minors, following reports of damage to businesses and burglaries Saturday night.

Baltimore has been spared much of the violence and damage reported in other U.S. cities, including  New York City and Los Angeles, leading both Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Governor Larry Hogan to call the demonstrators in the city a national example.

“In Baltimore yesterday, we were a national example of what it looks like to engage in passionate protesting without widespread breaking of the law,” Young said.

For full coverage of the George Floyd unrest in Minneapolis, go to CBS Minnesota.

Comments (6)
  1. Younan says:

    It takes Floyd down a few pegs he was hopped up on Fentenyl and meth, but that does not justify killing him. Minnesota has no death penalty, but Floyd got one.

    His death is uniting all races into a common cause, so it did serve a purpose. By & large the protests have been peaceful- they are protests not riots.

    It is not necessary for 4 properly trained cops to kill someone to get them, while handcuffed, into a cop car. Judges or juries sentence people to death, not the police.

    1. King Julian says:

      you are blind.

  2. POLLY says:

    MY DAD WENT TO PEACEFULLY PROTEST IN DC TODAY W/ A GROUP FROM HIS CHURCH. MY DAD IS 68 YEARS OLD AND HE FOUGHT IN VIETNAM. HE WAS WEARING HIS CHURCH T SHIRT AND HIS VETERAN’S CAP. HE WAS HOLDING A SIGN THAT SAID “ALL LIVES MATTER”. DONALD TRUMP HAD HIM GASSED AND SHOT RUBBER BULLETS AT HIM, AT A 68 YEAR OLD VET & HIS CHURCH FRIENDS WHO WERE NOT IN ANY WAY BEING VIOLENT DAMAGING PROPERTY OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. THEY WERE PEOPLE STANDING ON A PUBLIC STREET HOLDING UP SIGNS.

    SHAME ON YOU DONALD TRUMP!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Kelly Mancuso says:

    I’m sorry for what happened to the people in Washington today. and for your father-I thank him for his service in a war Trump refused to do his duty & fight because his feet hurt….but he coulkd still play 3 varsity sports? Yeah, right-2 of y brothers served in Nam too w/ the Marines.

    It was a total disgrace that Trump used the military against US citizens who were exercising their right to peacefully assemble- no riot-not looting-no destruction of property- no throwing rocks or shooting at
    police- total peace & law abiding people- he did it before the curfew- they were totally legal-he did it so he could photo op and wave a Bible (he has clearly never read) in front of a church whose bishop condemned him for it using the church like that and said it was contrary to the teachings of Jesus (which clearly Trump is not familiar with).

    I don’t know if I will vote for Biden , but I will NOT vote for Trump for sending the military on citizens doing what the Bill of Rights says they can.

  4. embarrassed to be an American says:

    Turns out the “antifa terrorist” call to violence online was traced to a Twitter account that was actually owned by a white supremacist group……………Trump’s people as he loves racists. Twitter shut it down- they should shut down Trump too as he is also calling for violence against people who have a right to protest by the Constitution. Trump should read the that and the Bible! When he talks like that how does he think people will react? Everyone but his most brainwashed ignorant followrs saw what a fake he was today

    There are too many bad cops in this country and people of color are treated differently. Don’t believe me Quick name 5 unarmed white men killed by cops

  5. Larry Espey says:

    all I could think of was that mentally challenged man that died when they tried to remove him from a movie he had not paid for, says a lot that is all I can think of but easy to name 5 African Americans they have killed. If Trump said those posts made antifa a terrorist organization and it was really the KKK then he should designate THEM as terrosists!

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