As Baltimore officials geared up for pre-trial hearings in the case against the six officers accused of killing Freddie Gray in police custody, protesters met for a demonstration that wound its way from the District Courthouse to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and back towards police headquarters. In the aftermath of the protest, police compelled protesters to disperse and arrested at least one activist.
Kwame Rose, a Baltimore activist and musician publicly known as the man who confronted Geraldo Rivera during the initial round of protests in Baltimore last year, was arrested by police after he and other activists say he was hit by a car.
Though Rose was apparently initially refused medical attention, a video by Johnnetta Elzie showed that he was eventually taken away in an ambulance after people spoke out. A tweet by Deray Mckesson also confirmed his current status as of a few hours ago:
Elzie and Mckesson, throughout the course of the march, also stated that they were being tailed and that officers provoked much of the confrontational elements of the protest. Meanwhile, several people present (including RT journalist Anya Parampil) stated that they were manhandled by officers while they tried to film Rose’s arrest:
Cop pushes me and tells me to shut up as I take photos of man arrested. I say I’m a member of the press he says he doesn’t care— Anya Parampil (@anyaparampil) September 2, 2015
Until this officer pushed me in the chest, told me to shut up and that he did not care I was I was press pic.twitter.com/1k2ghKH4ZU— Anya Parampil (@anyaparampil) September 2, 2015
Interim Police Chief Kevin Davis said, in a statement on how he though the police handled the protests, that this was the only arrest made:
We wanted to treat a protest like a protest. We believe it’s our responsibility to afford folks the right to peacefully assemble and exercise their First Amendment privilege, and by and large, that’s exactly what’s happened this morning. We’ve made one arrest of a person who choose not protest peacefully.
The Baltimore Sun cited a witness who thought that Rose exaggerated his injuries, yet some of those accounts have been thrown into question by tweets from activists who said that most “witnesses” were in fact planted undercover officers:
It’s been brought to my attention that some of the “witnesses” to @kwamerose’s arrest were actually undercover police/operatives— Credible Threat (@BaltoSpectator) September 2, 2015
The department released through another statement that an officer was injured during Rose’s arrest. These accounts are also disputed by Mckesson.
The protests happened as pre-trial hearings commenced for the officers accused of Freddie Gray’s murder. Notably during these hearings, Judge Barry Williams decided that he would not dismiss charges against the officers nor to recuse State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby. Opposing counsel asked for her to be removed from the case because they claimed that she has stoked rage against the defendants. From the Baltimore Sun:
Andrew Graham, a defense attorney for Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., argued that when Mosby publicly announced the charges against the officers on May 1, she “adopted and encouraged the public’s cry of ‘no justice, no peace,’” and that her statements tainted the jury pool.
“She handled this as though it was some sort of pep rally,” Graham told Williams.
Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow said Mosby’s comments were taken directly from a statement of charges and that Williams should consider the words she spoke and not accept the defense’s “gross distortion of what she said.” He said any effort to calm the unrest throughout the city served a “legitimate” law enforcement purpose.