baltimore national guard

From Army Times:

BALTIMORE, Md. — A force of 2,000 soldiers from the Maryland National Guard has activated to assist efforts by the Maryland State Police to prevent a repeat of last night’s violence in Baltimore.

Guard troops are posted at City Hall and throughout the city and various neighborhoods. The law enforcement presence at City Hall, along with a throng of media, community activists and political leaders — including Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Rev. Al Sharpton — created a bustling but peaceful scene on Tuesday afternoon.

Violence erupted the day before during the April 27 funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of a traumatic spinal injury he suffered while in police custody.

The Maryland Guard’s Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 175 Infantry Regiment, had set up in an area of operations including City Hall, Johns Hopkins Medial Center, and other parts of downtown under the leadership of 1st Lt. Sean Gramm and 1st Lt. Henry Hensley.

“None of our areas have received any kind of significant incidents throughout the day, which is a good thing. We’re now stabilized and setting up logistics,” Gramm told Army Times.

“Guard troops are posted at City Hall and throughout the city and various neighborhoods”

Gramm told Army Times on Tuesday afternoon that interactions with civilians were positive so far. Gramm said there was one incident outside his company’s AO where one person tried to set off a rudimentary Molotov cocktail. That individual was stopped before lighting it, Gramm said.

His soldiers have focused on preparations for the evening, when things may escalate.

“They could either just be like, ‘We’re done we had our night of it,'” Hensley said. “Or maybe they don’t. There’s no way to read into that. There’s been a very sophisticated dynamic response procedures set up throughout the day. I think they realize that too, and are probably being more cautious.”

Cummings, whose district includes much of Baltimore, told Army Times he saw the Guard’s mission as necessary, but also said he doesn’t like seeing the city this way.

“It doesn’t make me feel very good, but I realize that we have to keep functioning, and people have to be safe, and if that’s what it takes for the time being to accomplish that, then we have to do it,” Cummings said. “But I do not like seeing what looks to be a militarized zone in the city.”



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