Baltimore police have arrested 486 people since the city erupted in protests against the death of Freddie Gray, who was fatally injured while in police custody. Police spokesman Capt. Eric Kowalczyk told a news conference the focus now is to get the city back to normal. The news conference was held after the city's 10 p.m. curfew was lifted earlier in the day.
“Our focus is on asking people to continue to be peaceful,” Kowalczyk said at the police headquarters, “that those gatherings remain peaceful so that we can continue as the police commissioner said yesterday [Saturday] those steps toward normalcy.”
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the curfew's end via Twitter, saying she thought the 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew was no longer necessary. Kowalczyk said officers would remain in areas where there is potential for concern. He declined to disclose more about the deployment strategy.
“Where we have the largest amounts of people, we will ship the largest amount of resources,” Kowalczyk said. “That’s how curfew enforcement was done last night and will continue to be done.”
Since April 23, 486 arrests have been made in the protests, the Los Angeles Times reported. Since April 25, 113 officers have been injured. Kowalczyk said the department has investigators working to find suspects.
“Obviously the violence is a concern. Our efforts to continue the community outreach efforts … those continue and will continue as the day comes on," he said.
Kowalczyk also addressed the mental and physical health of officers who were mandated to work longer hours as the violence continued. The department has been providing counselors and pastors, he said. As to financing the increased efforts, Kowalczyk declined to provide specific numbers but said expenses were being monitored.
The department has continued to use social media as a vehicle to update the media and public on road closure, detours, protests, shootings and official mandates. At the end of the conference, the department designated Twitter as its main network for public communication and encouraged the community to follow its account for updates.