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More than 1,000 protesters took the streets of Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray, who was in police custody, a week ago.

A minority of protesters smashed police car windows and at least a dozen were arrested, after disturbances that led police to delay spectators’ departure from a baseball game.

Freddie Gray was arrested by police on April 12 and then suffered spinal injuries leading to death a week later.

His twin sister, Fredricka Gray, appealed for calm.

As clashes began on April 25, Fredricka Gray said: “My family wants to say, can you all please, please stop the violence?

“Freddie Gray would not want this.”

Six police officers have been suspended following the death and an internal police investigation is under way.Baltimore riot Freddie Gray protest

Freddie Gray, who was 25, is the latest of a series of black Americans to die in police custody in recent months, triggering angry protests accusing the police of brutality.

Baltimore has seen daily protests since his death on April 19 but Saturday’s was expected to be the largest so far.

One of the rallies, organized by the People’s Power Assembly, made its way from the Sandtown neighborhood where Freddie Gray was arrested to the Western District police station where an ambulance was called for Gray once he arrived in a police van, injured.

Another rally, called by Black Lawyers for Justice and other groups, congregated outside City Hall.

“Things will change on Saturday, and the struggle will be amplified,” Malik Shabazz of Black Lawyers for Justice told WBAL-TV Baltimore before the march began.

“It cannot be business as usual with that man’s spine broken, with his back broken, with no justice on the scene.”

However, in the evening some demonstrators started to smash shop windows and there were some fights with baseball fans before the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox.

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts admitted at a news conference on April 24 that officers repeatedly failed to give Freddie Gray the medical attention he was due and that, contrary to policy, Gray was not strapped into his seat in the police van following his arrest.

The police will report the findings of their investigation on May 1st, when protesters hope the six suspended police officers will be charged – and have vowed further protests if they are not.

An independent review by state prosecutors will follow.


Baltimore protests have increased day by day since April 21 after last week’s death of Freddie Gray in police custody.

Freddie Gray, 25, died a week after being chased and arrested from a fatal spine injury under unexplained circumstances.

The US Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation.

A thousand people gathered on April 21 at the site of Freddie Gray’s arrest, kicking off seven days of protests against what they believe is excessive police force.

Photo AP

Photo AP

As people raised their hands, Pastor Jamal Bryant, one of the demonstrations organizers, said the gesture was not an act of surrender.

“It’s a sign of strength, of one unity and one commitment that we will not rest until we get justice for Freddie Gray,” he said.

Freddie Gray was arrested on April 12. Officials said that he ran away after he “made eye contact” with officers on patrol.

Officers pursued him and took him into custody minutes later. The officers’ reasoning for detaining Freddie Gray is not clear.

“There is no law against running,” Police Commissioner Anthony Batts told reporters on April 20.

“Running while black is not probable cause,” Billy Murphy, a lawyer hired by Freddie Gray’s family, said.

Mobile phone video shows police pinning Freddie Gray to the ground before a detention van arrives to transport him to a police station.

In the video, officers are seen dragging Gray’s limp body into the van. It is not known whether Freddie Gray’s body was limp because of a deliberate act of defiance or because of a medical condition.

Freddie Gray was in the van for approximately 30 minutes. At one point, police stopped to put Gray into leg shackles after determining he had become irate.

He asked officers for medical care on multiple occasions, Anthony Batts said.

Freddie Gray was eventually rushed to hospital where he lapsed into a coma and died a week later.

A national debate over the use of police force has been going on since August 2014, when black teenager Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri.