Governor Larry Hogan deployed the Maryland Army National Guard to Baltimore late Monday, after declaring a state of emergency over violent riots that rocked the city.
Hogan said in a news conference that he activated the National Guard “instantly” after Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made the request, deeming the Baltimore Police Department insufficiently prepared to deal with the violence. Rioters threw rocks and bottles at police officers Monday, and set at least one police vehicle on fire. (RELATED: Quotes, Picture, Video From The Baltimore Riots)
Major General Linda Singh, the Maryland Army National Guard’s Adjutant General, said that around 5,000 troops would deploy “in massive force, and that basically means that we’re going to be controlling the streets.”
Rawlings-Blake also declared a curfew for the city of Baltimore, lasting from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for a week. Hogan and Rawlings-Blake reportedly both spoke to President Barack Obama; Hogan told reporters that Obama “supports our actions 100 percent.” (MAYOR: City Being ‘Destroyed By Thugs’ In ‘A Senseless Way’)
The Maryland Army National Guard made repeated deployments to Afghanistan between 2001 and the formal end of U.S. combat presence there in 2014. “Many of the soldiers that are serving now have known only war,” its commander told the Baltimore Sun in 2013 as the force prepared for its last deployment to the country.
The riots, which emerged from peaceful protests surrounding the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in police custody, flared up Monday in the wake of Gray’s funeral. The bulk of rioters’ property destruction affected businesses and vehicles in Gray’s own neighborhood. (RELATED: Maryland Sens. Call On DOJ To Investigate Freddie Gray Death)
At least seven police officers were injured in clashes with rioters. Journalists and locals were also caught amid the violence.