THIS FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF WHAT HAPPENED IN BALTIMORE IS SO SHOCKING AND UNREAL BUT OUR GOOD FRIEND, MATHEW BOYLE, IS ABLE TO TELL US WHAT REALLY HAPPENED:
BALTIMORE, Maryland — Racial protests supposed to be peaceful quickly turned into violent riots on Saturday evening, closing down the city of Baltimore for some time—and creating a panic for thousands of people as just 50 miles away elites in Washington partied with President Barack Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Personally, I wasn’t supposed to be on the job tonight as a reporter. After a long news week and as several of my contemporaries lived high on the hog down in D.C. at the so-called “Nerd Prom,” me and my brother left D.C. to go see our Boston Red Sox play the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards I hate the White House Correspondents’ Dinner—it represents everything I think is wrong with Washington, making celebrities out of news media and politicians—and given the fact I grew up just outside Boston I figured seeing the Red Sox play in Baltimore would be a great reprieve from the political culture. Boy was I wrong.
My brother and I arrived in Baltimore just outside Camden Yards about an hour before the game, and went into Bullpen Bar—one of three iconic all-brick building bars right outside the stadium—for a beer before the Sox took on the O’s. I usually make it up here for a game or two every year, and have always found Orioles fans to be pleasant. We’re united in our hatred of the Yankees.
Bullpen Bar sits between Pickles Pub and Sliders Bar & Grill. Outside each of the brick-faced bars, on the days of Orioles Games, each bar puts out barricades about 20 feet from their front doors. Shoulder-to-shoulder crowds of fans from each team—the Orioles, and in the case of Saturday night, the Red Sox—pack into three bars and the barricaded-off space in front before each game. Inside and outside of each, bartenders serve “cheap beer”—or so the $6-per-tall-boy-cans are advertised on big signs—while hotdogs, sausages and other pastime favorites are sold by each and by vendors who set up tents across the street. The blue collar culture—and really friendly people—are what make Baltimore baseball games so much fun, and there’s no better place to kick off an adventure into Camden Yards than here.
But on Saturday night, after my brother and I finished off our beers at Bullpen and began walking across the street to the stadium, planning to make our way to our seats after getting inside, chaos broke out.
As helicopters circled overhead and protestors smashed windows outside, Camden Yards put fans on lockdown on Saturday.
Several people across the street from these bars—between there and the stadium, which is less than 100 yards away—were holding signs that said #BlackLivesMatter. They were protesting the death of Freddie Gray, who Agence France Press newswire wrote “died last Sunday from spinal injuries, a week after his arrest in the city’s impoverished west side.”
“In a press conference Friday, officials acknowledged Gray should have received medical help at the moment of his arrest, when he was seen by bystanders — and caught on video — howling in apparent pain,” AFP wrote, providing the background of the simmering tensions in the mid-Atlantic port town. “They also revealed that Gray, contrary to police department policy, was not buckled into his seat in the van, which made at least three unexplained stops on its way to the Western District police station. Gray died Sunday with 80 percent of his spine severed at the neck, lawyers for his family have said. His funeral is scheduled for Monday. Six officers have been suspended with pay as the police investigation inches closer to a May 1 deadline to submit findings to a Maryland state prosecutor, who could decide to press charges.”
All of a sudden—literally as my brother and I walked out of Bullpen—everything went haywire. What were peaceful marchers holding up signs turned into violent rioters. Innocent fans standing by were confronted by the rioters, who physically and verbally threateningly engaged many of them—and then the protesters got even more violent.
All of a sudden, beer bottles and cans, and other projectiles were lobbed by the protesters into the crowds of fans. To get those projectiles, the protesters stole them forcibly from the bartenders and vendors set up outside each of those three bars. One beer can whizzed by my brother’s face, missing him by about six inches, and more flew all over the crowded area.
The crowd of protesters then stopped a blue station wagon carrying a white family as they tried to drive past Pickles, Bullpen and Sliders along a narrow one-way stretch between the bars and the main road. As a horde of them smashed their open and closed fists on the hood of the car—while impeding them by standing in front of them—the driver backed up on the one way pass in a desperate attempt to get out of dodge. Then, stopped on the other side with nowhere to go, protesters ripped open the passenger door of the car and began reaching around inside the vehicle. As hundreds of people looked on, including several police officers who didn’t engage the violent protesters, the white woman in the front seat—middle-aged and a little heavyset with dark hair—was visibly terrified.
CONTINUE READING: BREITBART
CHAOS IN BALTIMORE:
The death of Freddie Gray, a Baltimore resident arrested after leading police on a foot chase, catalyzed the unrest. Mr. Gray allegedly did not receive timely medical attention for a spinal cord injury, and died a week after his April 12 arrest for carrying a switchblade.
Thousands of protestors marched on city streets near Camden Yards during Saturday’s the Red Sox-Orioles game. Some collapsed in place in a “die in” on the street. Others threw rocks at police and windows. The demonstrations led to brawls between fans and protestors at bars near the stadium.
“Due to an ongoing public safety issue, the Mayor of Baltimore City & the [Baltimore County Police Department] have asked all fans to remain inside the ballpark until further notice,” the jumbotron at Camden Yards told fans. “Thank you.”
“Very strange,” Steve Cockey told the Baltimore Sun, “from being whisked in here. They were just ripping tickets, just getting people in as quickly as possible, which I’ve never seen. They did not do the metal detectors. Very, very strange. I’ve never been trapped in the ballpark before.”
Baltimore received better news inside of Camden Yards than outside of it. David Lough hit a walk-off home run in the tenth to give the Orioles a 5-4 victory over the Red Sox.