BALTIMORE (WPRI) — Local and state police in Maryland continue to be outnumbered as protests continue despite a curfew. The National Guard is not primarily called in as a law enforcement agency but, the city of Baltimore needs the help.
A state of emergency was declared after rioting followed the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died in police custody.
Peaceful protests quickly turned violent. Eyewitness News Analyst Retired Lt. General Reginald Centracchio said calling in the National Guard is a serious matter that requires a plan to mitigate the chaos.
“To make the transition from a combat scenario to a civilian scenario where you have unruly people, that’s totally different so you do get specific training on how you deal with that rather than use force on the front end,” Centracchio explained.
NAACP Providence President Jim Vincent said this can undermine the larger issue of creating better police relations between a community.
“Nobody wants to see rioting and looting it doesn’t help anybody its not what anybody wants however nobody wants lack of opportunity nobody wants lack of police accountability nobody wants a lack of police professionalism either so we have to come together to solve these things or there is going to be further problems,” Vincent said.
So far, no local law enforcement from Rhode Island has been called to Baltimore to assist.
Around 2,000 National Guard troops are in Baltimore now to help enforce the curfew.