On The Streets Of Baltimore, Trying To Understand The Anger

Posted by NPR News on

In the early morning, as the cold set in, Anaya Maze stood next to the charred remains of a CVS store.

Holding a sign, she was the only protester left in front of a line of police officers dressed in riot gear. She is petite. Still, she faced the police officers, looking at them intently.

A few steps away were the charred skeletons of two police vehicles, the victims of an unbridled anger that burned its way through the west side of Baltimore.

Maze said she understands the anger. For far too long, she said, police have been killing black men. She says Baltimore had this coming. All the violence, she says, might finally change things.

"I see no shame in being violent to be heard," she said. "Because if you can't do it peacefully than what other option do you have."

Last night, after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan had declared a state of emergency and ordered the National Guard into the city, rioters still roamed the streets; fires still burned and residents still stood on their stoops, on their sidewalks, trying to understand the anger that boiled over into riots.

Pierre Thomas, 37, was hanging out at the perimeter set up by police.

He said that yes, Baltimore has a history of inequality and yes the black community feels forgotten, but he didn't agree with setting properties on fire.

"Everybody is angry," he said. "But there is a right and a wrong way to do it. I understand why they're doing it but I don't support it. They're trashing their own place."

A few blocks down, Alexander, who only wanted to be identified by his first name, was watching a small corner market burn down.

He pointed at the fire trucks that were trying to make their way through the street. He pointed at the police officers. He said those flames were the only way to get them to come into this part of Baltimore.

Nobody was calling for peace when Baltimore police officers were beating innocent black men, he said.

"Where was the peace when we were getting shot? Where's the peace when we were getting laid out? Where is the peace when we are in the back of ambulances? Where is the peace then? They don't want to call for peace then. But you know when people really want peace? When the white people have to get out of bed, when cops have to wear riot gear, when the cops start talking about, oh we got broken arms. Then they want peace," he said. "Peace? It's too late for peace."

The police helicopter hovered above and every once in a while, we heard the pops of tear gas. The flames from the fire got hotter, lapping over the roof of a second row house.

A woman a few steps away was in tears. She was roused from sleep by the smoke. Her house is two doors down from the burning market. She didn't know if it would survive, if the flames would turn all her possessions into ashes.

"They shouldn't be doing this, man. We live around here," she wailed. "That was terrible."

Suddenly, as a flame shot into the sky, she covered her face and darted off before I could get her name.

subscribe to sdpb email updates food and cooking banner image learning blog link living blog link news and information blog link science and technology blog link sports blog link image

The Latest From SDPB Radio News

FEMA Housing Lands On Pine Ridge Following Disaster

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is placing new mobile homes on Pine Ridge following spring storms and...

Daugaard Proposes Medicaid Expansion In $4.8-Billion Budget

Governor Dennis Daugaard is proposing a total state budget of about $4.8-billion for fiscal year 2017. You can...

Dakota Midday: Attorney General Marty Jackley Discusses 24/7

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley recently returned from the National Association of Attorneys General...

Dakota Midday: GF&P Secretary Kelly Hepler

While broadcasting live from the state capitol building in Pierre, Cara Hetland visited with Kelly Hepler, Secretary...

Dakota Midday: Wink And Sutton Look Forward To Budget Address

South Dakota Speaker of the House Dean Wink and Democratic Senator Billie Sutton visited with guest host Cara Hetland ahead of Governor Dennis Daugaard's annual...

Hawks To Introduce Resolution On College Debt

One South Dakota lawmaker says she’s crafting a resolution about debt-free college. Democratic State Representative Paula Hawks says she wants to start a conversation...

Dakota Midday: Images Of The Past Potato Creek Johnny

Potato Creek Johnny is featured in this week's Images of the Past. Jessica Michak, Archivist with the HomestakeAdams...

Dakota Midday: Health Insurance Change Has Financial Consequences

Certain people who buy health insurance on the federal exchange could find themselves paying significantly more money in January if they don’t change their plans soon....

Dakota Midday: Budget And Policy Council Anticipates Budget Address

Joy Smolnisky, Executive Director, South Dakota Budget and Policy Institute discusses Medicaid expansion, Indian Health Services, education funding, and state revenue...

SD Scientists Welcome Renewable Research Boost

World leaders are meeting in Paris to hash out a new agreement on the best way to deal with climate change. As part...

The Latest from NPR News

A U.S. Delegation Is In Talks With North Korea, According To The State Department

One day after a surprise meeting between the leaders of the Koreas, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says...

Bikers From Across America Ride To Remember Soldiers 'Unaccounted For'

What started as a group of 2,500 has grown to an estimated 300,000. Motorcyclists from across the country rally in...

USS Arizona Memorial At Pearl Harbor Closes Indefinitely Due To Structural Concerns

The memorial, which honors the 1,177 sailors and Marines on the battleship who died during the December 1941...

Subtropical Storm Alberto 'Is Gaining Some Tropical Characteristics'

The storm, which is moving towards the U.S. gulf coast, is likely to become a tropical storm by Sunday afternoon or...

Parenting Advice From Uncle Sam

Nervous mothers and dads once had only family and friends to turn to for advice on kids. Then, in 1912, the U.S...

On 'White Fear Being Weaponized' And How To Respond

White people have called the police on black people in multiple incidents recently, despite no crimes being...