Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced in a news conference Wednesday that the state of emergency in Baltimore had been lifted. The end of the executive order signals a major step toward normalcy for the city.
The state of emergency was first ordered April 27. Hogan said all National Guard personnel have now left the city, but he added that tensions from the April 19 death of Freddie Gray -- and the underlying conditions that sparked citizens' outrage -- were still running high in the city.
“These problems have taken many decades to grow, and will likely take decades to repair,” Hogan, a Republican, said at the news conference. The governor said that the city is now believed to be safe after riots that damaged 200 businesses and left about 130 police officers injured, WBAL-TV reported.
"I saw things that I will never forget," Hogan said. "We saw devastation and destruction but we also saw incredible acts of kindness."
Protests after the death of Gray -- who died after suffering a fatal spinal cord injury in police custody -- at times turned violent and destructive. Hogan said that $20 million from the state's rainy day fund would go toward covering the cost of the response to the riots. The governor also had praise for the local leaders and officials who helped restore order to the city, especially for police officers, soldiers, firefighters and first responders. "They are heroes walking among us and deserve the deep thanks of a grateful city and state,” Hogan said.
Hogan's announcement came after Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's Wednesday morning news conference, in which she asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the city's police department for systemic issues.
Hogan was asked after his news conference for his thoughts on the mayor's proposed investigation. “I think that’s probably a step in the right direction,” he said.