Freddie Gray
Demonstrators protest outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District station during a rally for Freddie Gray, in Baltimore, April 21, 2015. Reuters

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan ordered nearly three-dozen state police troopers Thursday to maintain order at protests related to Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died Sunday -- one week after his arrest -- from a spinal injury he suffered while in police custody.

“There’s raw emotions. People legitimately have concerns, and the community is out in force protesting. I want to thank the folks involved in that. So far it has been peaceful. We want to try to keep things under control. The last thing we need is more violence in Baltimore city,” Hogan said, as the Baltimore Sun reported.

The Maryland State Police helped local authorities maintain order as hundreds of protesters took to the streets Thursday to question how Gray suffered his fatal injuries. Protests at times turned violent Wednesday, with some individuals throwing objects at officers outside a police station, the Sun reported.

Heated protests against Baltimore authorities led one local police union to compare the demonstrations to a “lynch mob,” CNN reported. The comparison drew additional criticism from protesters and from an attorney who represents Gray’s family.

“The choice of words is not only ironic, it’s sad,” attorney Andrew O’Connell told CNN. “Police officers are never the subject of the lynch mob. It’s actually usually the other way around. And in the context of the powder keg that Baltimore city is right now, referring to the citizens of Baltimore city who are peacefully protesting as a ‘lynch mob’ doesn’t serve to keep the peace.”

Police say Gray fled from officers immediately upon seeing them during an April 12 encounter. He was caught and placed inside a police van, but a video of the arrest made it unclear if he suffered an injury when he was first apprehended. Gray fell unconscious on the way to a local precinct and later died of a significant spinal injury.

Baltimore police officials suspended six officers with pay in connection with Gray's arrest. A criminal investigation into Gray’s death is underway, with findings due to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office by May 1, police said.

“As with any criminal investigation, detectives will continue to pursue the evidence wherever it leads, for as long as it takes,” police said in a statement, CNN reported.