Mayor Young, Dr. Dzirasa and Commissioner Harrison Update Public on Protests and COVID-19

BALTIMORE, MD. — Today, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young was joined by Baltimore City Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa and Commissioner Michael S. Harrison to brief the public on the protests and the status of COVID-19 in Baltimore City. Mayor Young issued the following statement.

“Throughout the day Saturday and into the early morning hours of today, we had a number of people engaged in peaceful protests on the streets of Baltimore,” said Mayor Young. “I want to sincerely thank the hundreds of protestors who were peaceful. In Baltimore, your right to peaceful assembly will be protected and you have my word on that. My heart broke watching the pain in our Country play out in the forms of fires set and images of looting. In Baltimore, yesterday, we were a national example of what it looks like to engage in passionate protesting without widespread breaking of the law. I can’t thank the people of our City enough for their courage in the face of continued pain and anger. If you’re coming to Baltimore to protest peacefully, we welcome you but if you’re coming here to throw bricks, break storefront windows or destroy city vehicles, you will be arrested.”

Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael S. Harrison added, “While our officers did encounter acts of violence against them, they continued to serve with an unparalleled level of professionalism, tolerance, and restraint. Our contingency plan allowed for resources to be deployed to allow residents to exercise their first amendment rights and we will continue to support those wishing to peacefully protest. 12 Adults and two Juveniles were arrested for unlawful behavior related to the protest. Charges for these arrests include burglary, aggravated assault, attempted arson, and failure to obey a lawful order. We will not allow the actions of a few define those that wish to peaceful protest and exercise their constitutional rights.”

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa added, “The need to use cloth face coverings, to practice social distancing, to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer – these are all critical behaviors key to reducing the spread of COVID-19. We have seen large, crowded gatherings in other cities and countries become “superspreader” events. By taking these precautions, you help reduce the risk that you will become sick, and you help reduce the risk that those around you become sick. In recent weeks, we have experienced positive trends in the data around COVID-19 in Baltimore, showing that we are making strides in stopping transmission and saving lives. We are hopeful, but we must also remain on alert – as we know, COVID-19 can spread easily and rapidly in large groups of people in close proximity for extended periods of time, so we need to continue engaging in behaviors that reduce our risk, and the risk to those around us.”

Mayor Young added, “I want to thank the men and women of the Baltimore Police Department for their professionalism and service to our City. Please know that the residents of Baltimore are behind you. I also want to thank Governor Hogan. The City has been working closely with the Maryland State Police and the Governor’s Office. I also want to thank the press for their work and let them know that they will also be protected and allowed to do their jobs. And finally, I want to recognize and thank the many individuals who were part of yesterday’s protests and acted as peacemakers, trying to keep folks calm and who encouraged agitated individuals against throwing things at the police or committing other unlawful acts. You played an important role in keeping the peace yesterday and this City owes you a debt of gratitude.”

You can view the entire briefing here.