In a strong display of unity, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis held a press conference to heap praise on the police department for its response to the small protest outside the motions hearings in the Freddie Gray trial.
After the noise from a police helicopter flying nearby delayed the start of the conference, Rawlings-Blake stepped to the podium to express her extreme gratitude to the officers of the Baltimore Police Department for how they handled themselves, citing progress from training the police had received since the unrest in April.
She told an audience that included media, activist Duane "Shorty" Davis and one of his toilets, and cop-turned-anti-cop-activist Michael A. Wood Jr., that Baltimore is "known to have a tradition of very peaceful demonstrations"—seemingly unaware her city is nicknamed Mobtown and how this came to be.
"It is totally acceptable to have vibrant and energized protest but also to be respectful and to stay within the bounds of the law, and that's what we saw today," she said. "Today's actions were peaceful, respectful, and an example of democracy in action."
Davis then took the mic to say police let protesters exercise their First Amendment rights and to thank the police departments in Montgomery, Prince George's, and Anne Arundel counties and the Maryland State Police for their assistance. "We treated a protest like a protest," he said.
Once questions were allowed, The Sun's Colin Campbell asked the interim commissioner about the one arrest made. Davis announced the man police apprehended—he did not say his name, but it is almost certainly activist Kwame Rose—was charged with assaulting an officer, making a false statement, and disorderly conduct.
After listing the charges, Davis pivoted back to the good news of the protesters who were allowed to exercise their rights without getting arrested.
In response to a different question, Rawlings-Blake continued her praise for Davis and his department, saying today's response showed the city is "ready, prepared, and the lawlessness we saw in the past won't happen again."
Davis went on to say the way the officers reacted is "indicative of the professionalism that exists in our city." He also said, "Today is a day everyone in the city can be proud of."
This, despite reports police met a small group of protesters near the Gallery wearing riot gear. City Paper spoke with at least four people who were struck or shoved by officers.
Not long after the press conference, officers at nearby War Memorial Plaza had taped off an area and were arresting a man with one leg and crutches. Officers on the scene discussed a fight for a knife and a stabbing. Campbell later confirmed a homeless man had been arrested in the stabbing and that the victim's injuries were minor.