Thousands of people are rallying Baltimore streets on Saturday in celebration following the pressing of charges against six police officers involved in the death of a black man, Freddie Gray.
The march started from the neighborhood where Freddie Gray (25) was arrested on April 12 with a minute of silence in his memory.
Protesters marched to City Hall celebrating and chanting “no justice, no peace, no racist police.”
Once the crowd of around 10,000 people gathered in front of the building, where the city’s chief prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced the charges ranging from second degree murder to assault against the officers yesterday, people started giving speeches taking turns.
“It's not over just because they've been charged,” a female demonstrator said. “There's still a long way to go. We're still just looking for accountability.”
“Baltimore wanted to show there's a lot more to the city than what's being shown on loop on cable news,” Fritz Bauerschmidt (52) a professor at Loyola University said referring to the extensive coverage of rioting in the city on Monday night.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who did not join the rally but greeted the protesters at an intersection, said “I'm so inspired and encouraged by what I see.”
Freddie Gray died on April 19, a week after suffering a fatal spinal injury while in police custody.
On Friday, Baltimore chief prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced she filed criminal charges against the six police officers including, second degree murder, manslaughter, misconduct and assault.
Mosby said the medical examiner ruled the 25-year-old’s death as homicide, the officers ignored his call for medical help, and his arrest was “illegal” in the first place as police had no probable cause.
Following the announcement people filled with joy and took on streets celebrating.
Baltimore presented a contrast to other similar cases from last year where grand juries decided not to indict police officers involved in the death of unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri and New York CIty, prompting nationwide protests.
Despite initial relief, people were cautious as residents said they needed to see justice served in Baltimore, as well as in other cities where they say minority groups are discriminated against and badly treated by the police.
"We will gather in peace and we will march in peace and we will march until police brutality ends in the United States," Malik Shabazz, president of Black Lawyers for Justice which helped organize Saturday's march said.
People were called to attend rallies in more than 20 US cities including Dallas, New York and Los Angeles on Saturday.
The charged police officers were released on bond late Friday after taken into custody earlier.
The court date for the trial is not set yet but the activist in the rally urged the people to register to be called as jurors.
"We can't get justice for Freddie without 12 jurors for Freddie. Get registered," civil rights activist Kim Trueheart said.
Baltimore police union said they were frustrated with Mosby’s decision to press charges and claimed the officers did not do anything wrong.
The curfew in Baltimore continues despite small number of disobedience cases and the authorities say it will be imposed until the end of the week as announced earlier.