The Baltimore Riots 1968
CIVIL DISORDER IN BALTIMORE 1968
This was in large part why we had these type riots, and at the time the police took signs and made arrests, but the media seemed to think it was ok to take a sign that one guy made, and re-print it and circulate to more than one hundred thousand readers, in nearly every state. The media regularly used terms such as, “Negro” and “Negress” to describe African American Males, and Females.
The Baltimore Riots 1968
The Baltimore Riot of 1968 started in reaction to the murder of Martin Luther King. After King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on 4 April, 1968, rioting broke out in 125 cities across the United States. In Baltimore, Maryland trouble didn’t start until two days later. When rioting did break out on Saturday, 6 April, the Governor of Maryland, Spiro T. Agnew, called out thousands of National Guard troops and 500 Maryland State Police to quell the disturbance. When it was determined that the state forces could not control the riot, Agnew requested Federal troops from President Lyndon B. Johnson.
By Sunday evening 7 April, 5000 paratroopers, combat engineers, and artillerymen from the XVIII Airborne Corps in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, specially trained in riot control tactics, including sniper school, were on the streets of Baltimore with fixed bayonets, and equipped with chemical (CS) disperser backpacks. Two days later, they were joined by a Light Infantry Brigade from Fort Benning, Georgia. With all the police and troops on the streets, things began to calm down. The FBI reported that H. Rap Brown was in Baltimore driving a Ford Mustang with Broward County, Florida tags, and was assembling large groups of angry protesters and agitating them to escalate the rioting. In several instances, these disturbances were rapidly quelled through the skillful use of bayonets and chemical dispersers by the XVIII Airborne units. That unit did not fire a single round of ammunition and arrested more than 3,000 detainees, who were identified, tagged with bracelets, and delivered in cattle trucks to the Baltimore police precincts.
By the time the riot was over, 6 people would be dead, 700 injured, 4,500 arrested and over a thousand fires set. More than a thousand businesses had been looted or burned, many of which never reopened. Total property damage was estimated at $13.5 million (1968$).
One of the major outcomes of the riot was the attention Spiro Agnew received when he criticized local black leaders for not doing enough to help stop the disturbance. While this angered blacks and white liberals, it caught the attention of Richard Nixon who was looking for someone on his ticket who could counter George Wallace’s American Independent Party, third party campaign. Agnew became Nixon’s Vice Presidential running mate in 1968.
Woman Pleads for People to “Stay Out” – Eager Street at Broadway – April 8, 1968
432 North Avenue
“Boys and Girls Scurry from Grocery Store … market pillaged near Biddle Street and Greenmount Avenue.” April 8, 1968
“Citizens on Run Near Eager and Aisquith Street” – April 8, 1968
COURTESY SERGEANT BERNIE WEHAGE
COURTESY SERGEANT BERNIE WEHAGE
COURTESY SERGEANT BERNIE WEHAGE
COURTESY SERGEANT BERNIE WEHAGE
COURTESY SERGEANT BERNIE WEHAGE
Officer assisting store owner with looted building
Baltimore and Lloyd Sts. Officer Charlie Cumberledge CD walking down Lloyd St. toward his car…Officer Bernie Wehage had just taken a woman from the second floor apartment over top the tailor shop which had been set on fire….the woman, while Officer Wehage was dragging her down the steps ,was hollering about her baby on the third floor, Officer Cumberledge ran up to the third floor and rescued her baby, “a canary”
City of Baltimore, Maryland
Action Reports, Baltimore Police Department
From 0600 Hours, Friday, April 5, 1968
To 0600 Hours, Friday, April 12, 1968
D. D. Pomerlau Police Commissioner
April 13, 1968
Police Department City Of Baltimore
Fallsway and Fayette Street Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Mulberry 5-1600 Area Code 301
Ralph G. Murdy
Wade H. Poole
Thomas J. Keyes
April 22, 1968
The attached Action Reports represent Journal entries extracted from the Log Book in the Emergency Headquarters Command Post during the period April 5-12, 1968. These Entries should in no way be interpreted as representing an all-inclusive account of the activities, which occurred in Baltimore during that period. Because of the exigencies of the moment, the entries are fragmentary and are presented merely as an overview.
Ralph G. Murdy
Attachments – Action Reports
In order to assist the Commanding General of the Task Force Baltimore in meeting his deadline, this overview of activities engaged in by the Baltimore Police Department during the period beginning 0600 hours April 5, 1968 to 0600 hours April 12, 1968 has been prepared. In the time allotted, it has not been possible to exploit all of the source documents and witnesses to fully repot the commitment of forces in Baltimore city during the period of disorder. It is anticipated that additional reports will be prepared and submitted to the Commanding General.
Statistics on reports of fires, looting, deaths, and arrests were reported to Task Force Baltimore on an hourly basis and summarized daily. Accordingly, such statistics are not repeated herein. It should be noted, however, that all the statistics at this time are to be regarded as tentative since the field conditions frequently precluded their verification and the elimination of repeat calls.
D. D. Pomerleau
April 13, 1968
Table of Contents
Action Reports: Page
April 5-6, 1968
April 6-7, 1968
April 7-8, 1968
April 8-9, 1968
April 9-10, 1968
April 10-11, 1968
April 11-12, 1968
Services Bureau Report
Operations Bureau Manpower Strength Report
Activity of Field Commander Posts
Baltimore Police Department Frequency Polygon,
1700 hours April 6, 1968 to
0800 hours April 12, 1968
Action Report, Baltimore Police Department
From 0600 hours, Friday, April 5, 1968
To 0600 hours, Saturday April 6, 1968
Thursday night in Baltimore found its citizens apprehensive and confused as to what events would follow the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, prominent civil rights leader, who was killed by an unidentified sniper in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. King died of his wounds about 7:00 p.m. on Thursday evening and the first successful act of related violence in Baltimore occurred with in six hours. About 12:38 a.m. on the morning of April 5, 1968, an ADT alarm was set off at Hoffman’s Liquor Store, 4451 Park Heights Avenue, where a homemade firebomb had been thrown through a window and landed on a pool table. The owner also responded to the ADT alarm and was in the process of extinguishing the blaze when police arrived. Police had answered several earlier calls of suspected arson in the Southwestern District shortly after 10:00 p.m. on April 4, 1968, but little damage was found.
Baltimoreans remained in a tense state on Friday morning. Their shock, anger and fear were best described by one cab driver who said, “Anything can happen now – and I do mean anything.” Despite the violence, which had burst out in cities across the country, Baltimoreans prayed with the President that violence would be denied a victory.
Indications of unrest in Baltimore on Friday appeared at Coppin State College and Northwestern High School where students refused to follow regular academic routine. Mayor D’Alesandro designated Monday as a city-wide day of mourning for Dr. King. He also proclaimed Sunday as a special day of prayer in Baltimore for Dr. King.
Governor Agnew announced on Friday that he had ordered the Maryland Notional Guard placed in a state of readiness shortly after 1:00 p.m. and signed into law a recently enacted emergency bill giving him sweeping power to mobilize forces to meet impending internal disorder.
The Emergency Headquarters Command Post was opened at 11:00 p.m. on Friday, April 5, 1968. AT 11:15 p.m. an arrest was made at Pennsylvania Avenue and Pearl Street of a person who was charged with throwing a firebomb into a lumberyard. This person was later identified as Willard Dixon, a member of CORE.
At midnight, Lt. Col. George Davidson of the Maryland State Police reported that all State Police Personnel were on 1010 alert, meaning they were in readiness to be called on short notice.
During the remainder of the early morning hours, a relatively small number of fires were reported. The Emergency Headquarters and Field Command Posts were secured by order of the Commissioner at 3:37 a.m., Saturday, April 6, 1968.
11. SEQUENCE OF EVENTS BEGINNING 2310 HOURS, FRIDAY, APRIL 5, 1968
2310 Emergency Headquarters Command Post opened by Commissioner Pomerleau, 5thfloor, Police Headquarters
2330 General Ogletree advised he had one MP Company mobilized at the 5th Regiment Armory for site security only. General Gelston was ordered to return from Atlanta, Georgia, to Silver Spring, Maryland by the Governor
2355 Car 1927 reported arrest of accused fire bomber at lumberyard, Pennsylvania Avenue and Pearl Street. Person Identified at 0001 as Willard Dixon, militant member of CORE, Baltimore office.
0005 Lt. Col. George Davidson, Maryland State Police, reported all State Police on 1010 alert for possible commitment. Potential problem area reported to be Annapolis, Cambridge, Montgomery County, Maryland
0135 Commissioner Advised Pete Marudas, Mayor’s Staff that the situation was relatively quite.
0210 Chief Battaglia and Deputy Chief Schnabelsent to scene of fire at 2135 N. Fulton Avenue, Southway Realty Company. Found to be a mattress fire – not connected with civil disorder
0255 Fire at Broadway Market, follow up by police indicated no connection with civil disorder, i.e., building locked and intact and fire contained at point of origin, vegetable stall
0330 Broken window reported in barbershop at 4238 Park Heights Avenue
0337 Emergency Headquarters and Field Command Posts secured by Commissioner Pomerleau
Action Report, Baltimore Police Department
From 0600 hours, Saturday, April 6, 1968To 0600 hours, Sunday April 7, 1968
The proceeding twenty-four hour period in Baltimore was marked by one of watchful waiting. The adjutant General of Maryland had been ordered to return to the State by the Governor and the Maryland State Police had been placed on a 1010 alert. Sporadic Fires had occurred in the city but these were easily controlled. An important arrest was made just before midnight on Friday when Willard Dixon was arrested on a charge of attempted arson.
At the time the following report began, early on Saturday morning, April 6, 1968, law enforcement was in complete control of the City of Baltimore.
11. SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
1145 Headquarters and Field Command Posts activated. Field Command Post located at Presstman and Appleton Streets with Major Donald T. Shanahan in command of Field Command Post Headquarters. Lt. Col. Frank J. Battaglia, Field Force Commander. Present in Headquarters Command Post at activation: Deputy Commissioners Poole and Murdy, Directors Morrisey, Norton and Deems. Building sercurity in effect.
1256 Chief Battaglia reported memorial ceremony at Pennsylvania Avenue and Mosher Street had been underway for twenty minutes. It drew a crowd of 250, mostly adults.
1337 Chief Battaglia reported the rally was breaking up with no incidents.
1430 Personnel on alert at demonstration were returned to staging area.
1435 Commissioner Pomerleau departed Emergency Command Post. Deputy Commissioner Poole left in command.
1459 Local FBI office called Deputy Commissioner Poole with report that CORE threatened to picket police headquarters because of arrest of Jerome Ford, detained on assault charges.
1501 Jerome Ford released on own recognizance. Stuart Wechsler of CORE agreed to Community Relations Division request not to picket police headquarters.
1503 FBI Supervisor Maurice Garrison relayed that SNIC was going to Mondawmin Shopping center.
1712 Firebomb thrown into vacant house at 1002 W. Baltimore Street.
1720 Disorderly crowds reported in the 400, 500 blocks of Gay Street.
1725 Order given to shift Field Command Post from Presstman and Appleton Streets to Gay Street and Aisquith.
1727 Windows were reported broken on Gay Street. Chief Battaglia stated the situation was still under control.
1834 Field Command Post relocated at Aisquith and Gay Streets.
1838 Phase IV of Mobilization Plan in effect.
1842 Warning order given to National Guard. The National Guard advised Phase IV in effect.
1844 All off-duty personnel contacted to report to their respective divisions and districts.
1845 Wire services asked to announce that all police personnel were to report for duty. General Ogletree activated the National Guard and reported to the Guard would be on the streets in two and three hours.
1850 Commissioner Pomerleau informed the Mayor and Governor of this situation.
1907 Commissioner Pomerleau and Deputy Commissioner Polle briefed Mayor D’Alesandro and Eugene Feinblatt at the Command Post Headquarters.
1911 Commissioner Pomerleau ordered the K-9 Unit deployed in the downtown area to protect the business district.
1923 Old 2-½ ton Army surplus truck was reported in the area of Chase and Eager Streets carrying persons throwing bricks. Maryland license 2660 EV.
1925 Stores were reportedly being looted in the 1600-1800 blocks of Harford Road.
1930 Major W. W. Corbin, Assistant Chief of Operations, Maryland State Police, was requested by Commissioner Pomerleauto send the Maryland State police to the staging area at the State Office Building.
1935 Parren Mitchell called Mayor D’Alesandro at Command Post Headquarters to suggest a public appeal from the Mayor to “clear the streets. David Glenn, Eugene Feinblatt and other officials present, recommended postponing the announcement and that the Mayor “sit tight.”
1943 Four Cars from the Northwestern District were dispatched to handle rock throwers on Harford Road and North Avenue.
1945 Snipers were reported in the 4300 block of Park Heights Avenue.
1946 Large crowd was reported at Baltimore and Gay Streets.
1950 Major Pomrenke was dispatched as Baltimore Police liaison with Captain Collister at the Maryland State Police staging area at the State Office Building.
1953 Follow up report on snipers in the 4300 block Park Heights Avenue disclosed one shot had been fired and no other trouble observed.
1955 Colonel Robert J. Lally, Superintendent of Maryland State Police, arrived at Headquarters Command Post.
1956 Charles Bressler of the Governor’s office called Commissioner Pomerleau to advise that the Governor had just signed and emergency proclamation.
1957 Governor Agnew called Colonel Lally to clarify jurisdiction and Colonel Lally recommended the Commissioner Pomerleau remain in command. The Governor agreed to this and stated he would be available to close bars and make such other orders as necessary.
2004 Mayor D’Alesandro received a call that violence was scattered and sporadic. The Mayor said he was “holding on” for the present.
2005 Maryland State Police advised Colonel Lally they would have 300 to 400 men ready by 2100 hours.
2011 City Solicitor George Russell arrived at Command Post Headquarters.
2014 Attorney General Francis Burch arrived at Command Post Headquarteres.
2015 Chief Battaglia reported that his men were still in control on the streets.
2020 A group of twenty-five white men on East Baltimore Street between Calvert and St. Paul Streets was dispersed.
2025 Attorney General Burch spoke with the Governor, as did Mayor D’Alesandro. The Governor had already made an announcement of his emergency proclamation on television. Attorney General Burch said this was required and that the Governor announced that his emergency proclamation was precautionary.
2030 252 Troopers of the Maryland State Police were in position at the State Office Building, 35 were assigned to guard the State Office Building, and 200 were available for deployment.
2032 General Ogletree agreed with Commissioner Pomerleau that police officers should not respond to the call-up of the National Guard.
2036 Parren Mitchell arrived at Command Post Headquarters to see Mayor D’Alesandro.
2045 Gene Noble of the Community Relations Commission was requested to have the colored clergy who had volunteered their services, to attempt to quiet crowds on Gay Street.
2051 Chief Judge I. Sewell Lamdin of the Municipal Court advised he was police headquarters building and had sufficient judges to hold hearings.
2055 Detective cruiser 1101 intercepted the 2-½ ton truck reported at 1923 hours with Maryland License 2660 EV. Six occupants were arrested at Madison and Forrest Streets.
2056 Walter Lively, Militant head of U-JOIN was observed at Greenmount Avenue and Biddle Street. Personnel were instructed to keep him under surveillance.
2057 Robert Osborne, Director of Baltimore Civil Defense, said his unit was fully activated.
2102 Task Force units were dispatched to a reported “Soul group” gathered at Pennsylvania Avenue and Mosher Street.
2110 In response to request of Commissioner Pomerleau General Ogletree advised the Guard would have 1,000 men mobilized within the hour at the Fifth Regiment Armory.
2119 Telephone service was installed at the Command Post at Gay and Aisquith Streets.
2133 The Fire Department reported a fourth alarm at Federal Street and Milton Street.
2134 The first police injury reported was Sergeant McIntyre, Southern District, who injured his foot at Aisquith Street and Ashland Avenue. He was taken to Mercy Hospital.
2138 A store fire was reported at Lafayette and Guilford Avenues.
2139 Major William Armstrong and Director William Morrissey reported to Headquarters Command Post and they had observed numerous situations of glass breaking by roving bands and expressed concern over the situation to Commissioner Pomerleau, who ordered them to report to Chief Battaglia, Field Force Commander.
2145 Chief Judge Lamdin came to Headquarters Command Post.
2147 A large fire was reported at North Avenue and Calvert Street.
2148 A source called Mayor D’Alesandro to advise of a crowd fighting in the 1000 block of West Baltimore Street. Governor Agnew called Mayor D’Alesandro and requested a prompt report. Chief Battaglia was requested to call the command Post by Telephone.
2153 Attorney General Burch, Mayor D’Alesandro, City Solicitor Russell, Colonel Lally, and Commissioner Pomerleau discussed the possibility of calling in the National Guard and / or the Maryland State Police.
2157 The Mayor and Attorney General leaned toward calling in the National Guard. The City Solicitor suggested a gradual buildup beginning with the Maryland State Police.
2159 Commissioner Pomerleau alerted General Ogletree to an imminent call, which would commit the National Guard.
2200 General agreement was reached to ask the Governor to bring in the National Guard, and Attorney General Burch called Governor Agnew. The Governor spoke with Mayor D’Alesandro who said “things are getting worse.” The Mayor requested commitment of the National Guard, a curfew, and a ban on the sale of liquor. The Governor committed the Guard and said the curfew would begin at 11:00 p.m. and that it would be announced immediately over the wire service.
2204 A fire was reported as 235 Hollins Ferry Road, and a firebomb ar Aisquith Street and Lafayette Avenue.
2205 Col. Robert Lally committed the Maryland State Police as follows;
Captain David Dowd would be in charge of 92 men on Greenmount Avenue from North Avenue to 25th Street. 75 men would be sent to Milton Avenue and Preston Street, 50 men to North Avenue between Greenmount Avenue and Howard Street. Commissioner Pomerleau talked with General Ogletree on deployment of the National Guard. General Ogletree said he would commit two task forces – one from the West and one form the South.
2209 Col. Lally committed 50 members of the Maryland State Police under Captain O’Hara, from Park Circle north along Park Heights Avenue.
2210 Assistant Attorney Generals Fred Oken and Norman Polavoy arrived at Emergency Headquarters Command Post.
2212 Attorney General Burch, City Solicitor Russell, Eugene Feinblatt, and Mayor D’Alesandro left the Emergency Headquarters Command Post.
2213 A request for a wagon run and ambulance was received from the 3500 block of Park Heights Avenue.
2220 Commissioner Pomerleau notified General Ogletree that trouble was spreading west and he anticipated problems in the Park Heights area.
2230 20 additional troopers of the Maryland State Police were ordered by Col. Lally to patrol in the department store area of Howard and Lexington Streets.
2231 About 2,000 National Guardsmen were reported to be committed in the general areas of Greenmount Avenue and Calvert Street between North Avenue and 25th Street.
2240 The National Guardsmen was reported coming to the city from Pikesville. Deputy Commissioner Poole recommended that one section be deployed along Park Heights Avenue as far south as Park Circle. This would be in addition to the two battalions to be deployed between Greenmount Avenue and Calvert Street from North Avenue to 25th Street.
2243 Commissioner Pomerleau recommended to General Gelston that National Guard forces be deployed as noted above.
2252 Fire Chief Killen said his forces were getting thin, and in view of the growing number of fires, he night have to call upon neighboring fire departments for assistance.
2300 The curfew went into effect from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. No alcoholic beverages were to be sold and no gasoline delivered except directly into gasoline tanks of motor vehicles. In addition, no firearms, inflammable liquids, or dangerous weapons were to be carried. Violation of the proceeding could result in a fine of $100.00 or 60 days in jail, or both. This information came form Mr. Robert Montgomery of the Governor’s office. An additional 15 Maryland State Police troopers were added to the Howard Street detail.
2303 Chief Judge Lamdin was notified of the curfew order.
2310 States Attorney Charles Moylan was notified of the Curfew order.
2335 Five more Troopers of the Maryland State Police were added to Howard Street detail.
2350 Commissioner Pomerleau requested troops in the 1200-1700 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue.
2356 The 92 men of the Maryland State Police on Greenmount Avenue were relieved by the National Guard and returned to the State Office Building staging area for reassignment.
0001 300 National Guardsmen were sent to Pennsylvania Avenue for patrol. Remainder of Pikesville contingent to city along Park Heights Avenue.
0013 15 Maryland State Police Troopers sent on request of General Gelston to protect a large supply of liquor at the Baltimore Security Warehouse, Hillen and High Streets. An additional 30 troopers were sent to a fire at Federal Street and Harford Road.
0022 Maryland State Police detailed 45 men sent to the Civic Center to control the break-up of a dance.
0124 National Guard forces swept the area between Calvert Street and Greenmount Avenue form 25th Street south to three blocks below North Avenue. Baltimore Police Department Tactical Forces joined National Guard at Harford Avenue to proceed to Pennsylvania Avenue to sweep Pennsylvania Avenue.
0129 A Youth Music Festival scheduled for the Civic Center on Sunday was canceled.
0138 A recapitulation showed 41 fires reported but many of these were repeat reports.
0159 Channel 13 quoted Fire Chief Killen 250 fires reported. The detention of Walter Lively was also noted on the newscast.
0305 Commissioner Pomerleau returned to the Emergency Headquarters Command Post from the field and ordered that Chief Battaglia return to the Emergency Headquarters Command Post for a critique.
0335 Preliminary figures showed 273 arrests, which reported a looter, wounded by a police officer in self-defense, and three dead. Two of the dead were found in a burned building and one was shot by the night manager of a bar.
0343 Assignment of the National Guard. Colonel Burke commanded a Task Force in Eastern, Northeastern, and Southeastern Districts. Colonel Fowler commanded a Task Force in Western, Central, and Northwestern Districts.These two Task Forces had no fixed post, but enforced the curfew and coordinated with district police commanders. The Baltimore Police Department was subordinate to Major General George Gelston, military commander. K-9 dogs were kept in the downtown business area as a deterrent and reserve forces were available in tow staging area. The Baltimore Police Department remained on twelve-hour shifts.
0425 Field Force Commanders reported city relatively calm. Commissioner Pomerleau, Deputy Commissioner Poole and Murdy departed Emergency Command Post. Major William Armstrong, Staff Duty Officer remained in charge at Emergency Command Post.
Looter shot by a police officer in self-defense
Preliminary figures showed 273 arrests
Action Report, Baltimore Police Department
From 0600 hours, Sunday, April 7, 1968
To 0600 hours, Monday, April 8, 1968
This period began on Sunday morning. The disturbance in Baltimore had begun on the preceding night, and saw the commitment of the Maryland State Police and the Maryland National Guard to augment forces of the Baltimore Police Department. Reports of fires and looting accelerated during the night with the lowest ebb in the early morning hours of Sunday.
II. SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
0759 State’s Attorney Charles Moylan visited the Emergency Headquarters Command Post and notified the department the prosecutors would be available in each Municipal Court immediately.
0810 A large crowd was reported in the 1400 block of Milton Avenue.
0853 The National Guard asked for assistance in dispersing a large crowd on Gay Street.
0930 An “assist an officer” call received from Greenmount Avenue and Biddle Street. Request received from the National Guard to seal off traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue from Mosher Street to North Avenue; on Harford Avenue from Monument Street to North Avenue; and Gay Street from Orleans Street to Preston Street.
1100 Officer Robert Haas, Southeastern District, was taken to Mercy Hospital with broken finger and laceration of face.
1120 Crowds stoning police officers and National Guardsmen at Preston Street and Greenmount Avenue. Tear gas was used at Gay and Eden Streets by the National Guard. Fire Department requested assistance at Lanvale Street and Guilford Avenue.
1200 City Jail prisoners refused to enter cellblocks.
1225 Chief Battaglia reported City Jail secured. 12 cars reported on Baltimore-Washington Expressway bearing Virginia and District of Columbia tags with 5-6 Negroes in each car. State police at Glen Burnie notified.
1315 City Council President W. Donald Schaefer advised Emergency Headquarters Command Post that he is trying to reach the Mayor to have the curfew moved up.
1327 Mr. Zaccagnini of the Mayor’s Office requested a National Guard Detail around City Hall.
1328 The Dickman Street Garage was opened 24 hours a day, until further notice.
1338 National Guard was given grid coordinates of reports on fires and looting since 0600 hours.
1344 Fire Department asked for assistance at 2 locations.
1346 Deployment of 50 State troopers was requested on Baltimore and Franklin Streets between Calvert and Howard Streets.
1350 Major Shanahan, at Filed Command Post 1, was advised he could obtain food at Mergenthaler High School.
1410 Maryland State Police reported 50 troopers were assigned in the downtown business areas, and over 60 were assigned for use at Field Command Post 1.
1420 Chief Thomas of the Fire Department reported that every fire in the city was under control at 1400 hours.
1433 Teletype received noting proclamation of Governor Agnew prohibiting sale of alcoholic beverages in counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Howard
1449 Teletype sent to all districts notifying them of curfew from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. with orders to first notify violators and then arrest them.
1459 Commissioner Pomerleau spoke with General Ogletree on need to commit the entire National Guard.
1500 Commissioner Pomerleau advised Attorney General Burch of need to have the National Guard concentrate in the area of Milton to Maryland Avenues and Orleans Street to 25thStreet. The Commissioner also asked Attorney General Burch to suggest that the National Guard be more aggressive in initiating repressive patrol.
1509 Attorney General Burch informed the Commissioner that he urged the National Guard to commit all their men.
1545 The Commissioner agreed to a request of the Field Force Commander for CS Gas, gas mask, and twenty shotguns at Field Command Post 1.
1604 The Commissioner asked Col. Lally to use his influence in getting more aggressive action initiated repressive patrol and total commitment by the National Guard.
1616 The Commissioner spoke with Col. Lally who called concerning the possibility of the Governor requesting Federal Troops. The Commissioner suggested waiting to see the results of the 4:00 p.m. curfew.
1630 Field Force Commander Battaglia asked for more trucks to transport curfew violators.
1700 Chief Funk of the Fire Department stated all Fire Department personnel had been called back to duty and that 60% of his equipment was still committed.
1730 Assistant Attorney General Fred Oken made arrangements for speedy hearings of curfew violators at 9:00 p.m.
1731 Attorney General Burch was advised of the upward trend of reported fires since 0600 hours.
1746 Governor Agnew called the Commissioner for an estimate of the situation. The Governor said he would ask for Federal Troops after immediately conferring with General Gelston.
1805 Chief Wett of the Fire Department said all fires were under control as of 6:00 p.m.
1901 In the 36-hour period from 0700 hours Saturday, April 6, 1968 to 1900 hours Sunday April 7, 1968 the Baltimore Police Department received 7, 647 calls for police service.
1930 5 Gas and Electric power sub-stations were placed under guard.
1931 A curfew was announced for Baltimore County from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
1932 Since 0001, Sunday, April 7, 1968, 248 reports of looting and 67 reports of fire were received.
1940 Commissioner Pomerleau left the Emergency Headquarters Command Post to meet with Chief Battaglia and join Lt. General Robert York at the Fifth Regiment Armory. Civil Defense stated that 234 persons had been treated in hospitals during the disturbance to date.
2003 The Chief of the Fire Department refused to provide further statistics to Director Ashburn, Planning and Research Division, stating he did not have the necessary clerical personnel.
2050 1900 Federal troops arrived at Mondawmin Shopping Center enroute to Druid Hill Park.
2120 National Guard was advised of the growing trend of fires and looting in the Western and Southwestern Districts. Deputy Commissioner Poole was advised that the 18th Airborne Brigade would begin to sweep that area.
2130 Comptroller Pressman inquired and was advised against opening the 7 City markets on Monday.2225 Deputy Commissioner Poole advised Filed Command Post 1 to sweep east from Hilton Street to Pennsylvania Avenue on Edmondson Avenue.
2245 Mr. C. P. Stackhouse, 109th Military Intelligence, stated that the 82nd Airborne units were deployed on the west side of Jones Falls Expressway, and the National Guard on the east side.
2304 Commissioner Pomerleau notified Deputy Commissioner Poole that Federal troops had been committed in West Baltimore, but were not yet deployed.
2345 Deputy Commissioner notified Col. Abbott of the National Guard that 50 men were required at City Jail for disorders there.
0010 Commissioner Pomerleau notified Deputy Commissioner Poole, that National Guard troops dispatched to the Southeastern and Eastern Districts would be established outside each district. The Police Department would provide communications in order that the National Guard could be dispatched with cruising patrols accompanying in order to pick up prisoners and block of streets if necessary.
0130 Deputy Commissioner Keyes reported he was attempting to arrange for additional confinement areas.
0155 Major Norton advised that two suspects were arrested at the scene of a reported sniping in the 900 block of N. Fulton Avenue.
0340 Deputy Commissioners Poole and Keyes and Major Pomrenke were relived by replacements.
Gas Masks on and Bayonets at the Ready, Federal Troops Prepare Sweep Down Whitelock Street to Clear It of Looters April 8, 1968
Action Report, Baltimore Police Department
From 0600 Hours, Monday, April 8, 1968
To 0600 Hours, Tuesday, April 9, 1968
The twenty-four hour period preceding this report saw violence in Baltimore reach a climax, which required the federalization of the Maryland National Guard and the commitment of Federal Troops. The greatest number of reports, looting, and fires, received between 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on Sunday night.
II. SEQUENCE OF EVENTS.
0601 Army and National Guard officials were advised that the Baltimore school population was 205,300 (180,000) in response to their inquiry. An announcement had already been made that schools would be closed on Monday, April 8, 1968.
0608 Commissioner Pomerleau visited Emergency Headquarters Command Post and supervised the preparation of maps.
0640 Task Force Baltimore was advised that the Baltimore Police Department was working n 12-hour shifts of approximately 1100 men on each shift.
0743 A shooting was reported in the 800-block Somerset Street.
0755 2 escort drivers were provided for Lieutenant General York and Assistant Attorney General Fred Vinson.
0925 Colonel Kriwanek, Provost Marshal of the 18th Task Force Baltimore, came to Emergency Headquarters Command Post for briefing with Director Ashburn.
0940 The number reported lootings between 9:00 a.m. and 9:40 a.m. this date were noted to be double the number reported for the same period on Sunday morning, April 7, 1968.
0950 Lieutenant Harry Frantz, Baltimore Police Department Liaison Officer with Civil Defense, advised of the following food distribution points.
Caroline and Eager Streets
Fremont and Pennsylvania Avenues
29th Street and Alameda
Gilmor and Baker Streets
4502 Park Heights Avenue
Lafayette and Arlington Avenues
720 N. Calvert Street
2202 St. Paul Street
2521 E Preston Street
Greenmount Avenue and 22nd Street
Gay Street and Broadway
300 S. Broadway
1427 N. Caroline Street
Chase and St. Paul Streets
2627 N. Charles Street
560 N. Broadway
2641 Maryland Avenue
1021 Light Street
In addition to the above, meals were being served at Eastern High School.
0950 The shooting in the 800-block Somerset Street was confirmed to be a shooting of a citizen by Officer Bernard E. Hartlove who fired in self-defense when William V. Stepter came at him with a knife and a brick..
0955 The city reported that contraband would be accepted for storage at the city warehouse, 2801 Edmondson Avenue.
1020 Task Force Baltimore was advised of a reported crowd of 500 persons converging on the Western Police District.
1025 Police Commissioner directed that the following teletype be sent to all Commanding Officers:
“You are reminded that the established Firearms Policy remains in force. Police personnel will only shoot in defense of themselves, fellow officers, military personnel, and citizens. Looters will not be shot except in self-defense as described in the previous sentence. No warning shots will be fired. No gas will be used without direct authority of the Chief of Patrol, Deputy Commissioner of Operations or the Police commissioner.”
1038 It was confirmed that all major department stores were closed and estimated that 95% of the smaller stores were closed.
1045 Chief Battaglia opened up Field Command Post 2 at Pennsylvania Avenue and Laurens Street
1050 Captain Mello reported that he had not observed a large crowd in the vicinity of the Western District
1115 Commissioner Pomerleau requested Major Wilbur Conroy of the Maryland State Police to provide 300 troopers in the State Office Building Staging Area at 1700 hours for use until at least 0100 hours.
1155 Reports were received of extensive looting in the 800 to 1100 blocks West Baltimore Street and the Field Command Post 2 was advised to dispatch the necessary personnel.
1230 A teletype was sent to all Commanding Officers notifying them that police personnel could not use unauthorized personal firearms.
1250 Colonel Kriwanek, Provost Marshal, advised that 2000 additional Federal Troops were leaving Andrews Air Force Base by bus at 1300 hours for Baltimore City.
1255 Request of Chamber of Commerce to have 2 citizens at Headquarters as liaison was denied. The Chamber was advised to have such persons remain at their Headquarters.
1310 The Assistant Attorney General, freed Oken, arranged with the Baltimore Civic Center Commission to keep prisoners at that location.
1340 Reports were received of looting at Franklin Square and Provident Hospitals. These reports were determined to be unfounded.
1345 The Acting Superintendent of Schools advised Deputy Commissioner Poole that he had been instructed to open City schools on Tuesday, April 9, 1968.
1515 National Guard Troops were sent to protect a storefront at 235 Franklintown Road which contained a large number of guns.
1530 State’s Attorney Moylan requested that prisoners be sent immediately to the Criminal Court where judges were waiting to give them a prompt hearing. He said that preliminary booking would not be necessary at the district stations.
1530 Mr. Kalman Hettleman, Aide to the Mayor, was advised in response to his inquiry that Stuart Wechsler, CORE leader, arrested as a curfew violator had been transferred from Eastern District to the City jail at approximately 1500 hours.
1600 The curfew was put in effect from 4:00 p.m. Monday, April 8, until 6:00 a.m., Tuesday, April 9, 1968. Within an hour after the imposition of the curfew Danny Gant and Yopsef Karrem of CORE were arrested as curfew violators.
1620 All districts were advised that military vehicles could obtain gasoline and oil from city-owned fueling stations in the Central Garage.
1630 Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties’ Jails were available for receipt of 50 prisoners each.
1650 Major McLane of the 18th Airborne advised Headquarters Emergency Command Post that previously issued curfew passes were no longer valid.
1725 Deputy Commissioner Keyes resolved procedure for holding hearings on curfew violators with State’s Attorney Moylan.
1805 Mayor D’Alesandro requested Commissioner Pomerleau to meet him in the Patterson Park area.
1806 Teletype was sent that curfew violators would be tried without the presence of arresting officers by authority of State’s Attorney Charles Moyan.
1829 A teletype was sent to all districts requiring special attention to 7 establishments containing large quantities of alcoholic beverages.
2025 Deputy Attorney General Robert Sweeney called on behalf of Governor Agnew to instruct that Danny Gant of CORE should be released on his own recognizance.
2031 A sniper was reported on the roof at Lloyd and Lombard Streets.
2040 A sniper was reported at Lombard and Exeter Streets shooting at firemen.
2210 Colonel Lally of the Maryland State Police informed the Emergency Command Post of a report received that Minute Men might try to assassinate Governor Agnew, Mayor D’Alesandro and Former Mayor McKeldin. Details were arranged to guard these homes.
2300 The area in the 1100 block East Lombard Street was cleared of snipers. Deputy Commissioner Poole requested Fire Chief Wett to return to the scene of the fire. Police and Military personnel had used the fire equipment left by the Fire Department.
2310 Commissioner Pomerleau notified Attorney General Burch that the Fire Department was not manning its equipment in the 1100 block East Lombard Street, but that State and Baltimore policemen along with National Guardsmen were manning the hoses.
2315 The Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner Keyes conferred with Attorney General Burch and Assistant Attorney General Oken with reference to the depletion of detention centers for prisoners. Mr. Oken was designated to work with Deputy Commissioner Keyes in resolving this problem.
2320 Chief Battaglia reported that the fire in the 1100 block East Lombard Street was under control.
0030 Pvt. Swedenjohn of Task Force Baltimore reported that one shot had been fired at him at 2342 hours from a high-rise apartment at Biddle Stree and Argyle Avenue.
0230 Colonel Nixon of the National Guard reported the following troop deployment:1stBattalion, 29th Infantry, had command Post on North Avenue and Caroline Street. 2 Radio Cars are assigned on 12-hour shifts. The boundaries covered are Patterson Park to Guilford Avenue, Chase Street to North Avenue. The second unit is the 31st Infantry, which has its Command Post at Pennsylvania Avenue and Laurens Street. 2 radio cars assigned to 12-hour shifts. The boundaries are Guilford Avenue to Fremont Avenue and Chase Street to North Avenue.
Kerosene Fire Burns Along Lombard Street” – April 8, 1968
Smelkinson’s Dairy on fire
Action Report, Baltimore Police Department
From 0600 hours, Tuesday, April 9, 1968
To 0600 hours, Wednesday, April 10, 1968
The peak of reported fires and looting was reached in the 24-hour period preceding this report. The greatest number of calls during the entire disturbance came at approximately 2:00 p.m. on Monday, April 8, 1968. Thereafter, while reports remained substantial during that period, a downward trend was noticeable. In the same period, the accumulation of prisoners began to tax the normal detention facilities available in Baltimore, and the Civic Center was pressed into use for this purpose. The most alarming occurrence of sniping took place during a 90-minute period just before midnight on Monday when firemen had to leave their equipment in the 1100 block of E. Lombard Street because of sniper fire. No one was hit by the fire, however.
II. SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
0915 City Council President Schaefer asked that special attention be given to neighborhood grocery stores, which he had asked to open.
0920 The Civic Center reported an unsuccessful attempt by several prisoners to run away.
0936 A teletype was sent out advising police personnel that law enforcement courses at a local junior colleges had been postponed because of the disturbance.
0945 Chief Judge Dulany Foster stated Criminal Court judges would continue to sit and hear curfew cases.
1105 Commissioner Pomerleau visited the Emergency Headquarters Command Post to brief personnel on his conference which had taken place at the Task Force Baltimore Command Post at the Fifth Regiment Armory.
1141 Deputy Commissioner Poole requested 50 soldiers be sent to the Baltimore City Jail where the warden reported prisoners were restless.
1232 Teletype was sent to all commanders that officers would allow delivery men, doctors, nurses, etc., who had proper credentials to proceed during the curfew period.
1240 Chief of Police Rocky Pomerantz and two police officers from Miami Beach, Florida visited the Emergency Headquarters Command Post.
1301 Lieut. Harry Frantz called Emergency Headquarters Command Post to furnish a report received from City Council President Schaefer. Mr. Schaefer said that Walter Lively was reported to be on Federal Street telling residents “wait until the funeral is over and we’ll start.”
1336 Lt. Gen. York called Emergency Headquarters Command Post to state that memorial parades in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King should be condoned and protected.
1352 New call numbers were assigned to the 3 Filed Command Posts.
2501-Field Command Post 1
2502-Field Command Post 2
2503-Field Command Post 3
1434 Col. Lally passed on a report that militant leaders had left Baltimore for Philadelphia. The Inspectional Services Division was notified immediately.
1435 A car was dispatched to the Fifth Regiment Armory to bring Lt. Gen. York to Lafayette Sqaure.
1650 United States Customs Bureau advised it would have unmarked cars patrolling the waterfront.
1705 Commissioner Pomerleau visited the Emergency Headquarters Command Post.
1730 Burial of Dr. Martin Luther King concluded.
1900 Curfew in force from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
1935 Danny Gant of CORE called Commissioner Pomerleau to request that he locate 6 civil rights workers who had been arrested.
0120 The following information was received from Intelligence at Task Force Baltimore:
From: County Police
To: G2 LNO 109th Time: 092155 Apr. MSG #141
MSG: County Police have monitored citizen band messages in the Hamilton area. General conversation since 2030 hours has been discussion of whether or not they should form vigilantes to handle area. This is due to lack of police action. All stations have Call Sign of KQI individual units are 3617, 2852, 2939 (net control) 2929 (mobile) 3375, 3626, 3771, 3375 and 12280.
TIME: 092340 MSG: County police continued to monitor citizen band transmissions. Additional units of Hamilton area radio net are KQI 3678, 3626, KKI 2185. Base station is directing mobile units through the Northwestern area of the city. Units move to areas using a code system for street designation. Operators of the units are avoiding using name identifications. When asked to identify by other units, operators refuse which is a violation of FCC regulations. Radios are operating on 11 and 14 bands. Units will be called on one band and will answer automatically on the other.
Action Report, Baltimore Police Department
From 0600 hours, Wednesday, April 10, 1968
To 0600 hours, Thursday, April 11, 1968
The twenty-four hour period preceding this report witnessed the funeral and burial of Dr. Martin Luther King, which lasted from approximately 10:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. on Tuesday. The curfew time was slightly shorter and citizens were reported fearful of an acceleration of violence after the funeral. While reports of looting and fires were still significant on Tuesday night, there was no holocaust as had predicted. Rumors were beginning to proliferate.
II. SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
0653 Civil defense delivered 576 cots and 750 blankets to 420 Fallsway, which were signed for by Lieutenant Maurice Epple.
0812 Information received that a bomb was to explode on the third floor of the Community College of Baltimore at 0915. Unit 654 reported no bomb located.
0825 Mr. John O’Mailey, Executive Secretary, Board of Fire Commissioners, Baltimore City Fire Department was contacted by Major Rowlett as directed by the Commissioner to ascertain the statistics of a normal fire week. Mr. O’Mailey quoted the following average number of fires per week.
0826 Sniper Reports, analysis of
Sniper Reports for the Period 0800 April 9, to 0600 April 10, 1968
Reports Confirmed 9 April 68
1051 401 Car reported sniper fire at Curtain and Aisquith Streets. Investigated by Sgt. Donald Sutton who located a civilian in a parked automobile which had a bullet hole – bullet was found in car, sniper not located.
1327 707 Car dispatched to 1400 Block North Monroe to investigate sniper fire – 1 shot was fired, sniper not located.
10 April 68
0121 Car 303 dispatched to 1615 Spring Street where resident stated she thought shot was fired from 1400 Eden Street. 300 Car arrested suspect on roof of 1432 North Eden Street C/M, w/o weapon.
Unconfirmed reports 9 April 68
0854 Officer Tana dispatched to Lafayette and Pennsylvania to investigate sniper fire – looter found, but no sniper.
0925 Report of sniper at CP2-West – unfounded.
0945 Sniper reported by fireman firing at passing motorists – unfounded, believed to have been noise from breaking bottle, at 1500 Aisquith Street.
1316 Sniper fire reported from roof of Jophn’s Hopkins Press, Aiken and Sherwood Street – 418 Car investigated – unfounded.
1449 Sniper fire reported Hartford and Normal – investigated by 401 Car – unfounded, believed to have been caused by broken glass.
1536 Sniper fire at Pulaski and Fayette – unfounded.
1555 Shooting at 2801 Dukeland Street investigated by 817 Car – not sniper fire.
1705 Unfounded report of shooting at store and owner (No name or address listed) Unable to confirm.
1755 Shooting at 1900 Annapolis Road investigated by 817 Car – not sniper fire.
2100 Sniper fire 2100 Herbert Street investigated by CP2 – West – unfounded.
2138 Sniper fire 900 Block Whitmore investigated by Tactical Section – unfounded.
2330 Man with gun at 4900 Block Schaub investigated by 306 Car – unfounded.
2329 Army personnel reported rifle discharged from roof 2226 Eutaw – could not be confirmed by 306 Car.
10 April 68
0209 706 Car investigated report of sniper fire at 1800 W. Fairmount Avenue __ unfounded.
0218 Shooting from roof at Schroeder and Fairmount investigated by 715 Car – unfounded.
0309 Shooting 1800 Block W. Fairmount Avenue investigated by 706 Car – unfounded.
0827 Following message received from Army intelligence. All CP’s notified.
FROM: Reg 1, 109th TO: G2 LNO, 109th
TIME: 100415 Apr 68 MSG: 151
MSG: Final additional identification of civil band radio operating in Hamilton area:
KQ13678 = Vicent D. Barrett, 1920 Spencerville Road, Spencerville, Maryland KQ12185 = Levin S. Harrison III, Dogwood Street, Tighlman, Maryland (County Police not sure this call sign was in net, next call sign seems to be one heard.)
KK12185 = Charles L. Hedgepeth, 46 C. Oak Drove Drive, Baltimore, Maryland. FCC has requested that this net be allowed to operate; so that county police may make tape recordings of transmissions. FCC has reason to believe these transmissions may have something to do with riot in Washington, D.C. Recording of civil communications were made during Washington riot and FCC wants to compare tapes of Baltimore transmissions with those of Washington, D.C.
0828 Following information concerning fires received by Major Rowlett from Mr. John O’Mailey, Executive Secretary, Baltimore City Fire Department.
Sat. 6 Apr 68 0600 – 2400 250
Sun. 7 Apr 68 411
Mon. 8 Apr 68 335
Tues. 9 Apr 68 207
Total Fires 1208
Mr. O’Mailey further reports, that a Department and a half has been in service since the emergency began.
100 First Line Units
50 Second Line Units
All personnel of the Department has been on duty — the off shift was divided between second line and first line units causing both to be over normal operating strength.
0829 Bomb reported to be in Douglas High School, Gwynns Falls and Pulaski – unfounded.
0900 Warden Parks, City Jail, in reply to an inquiry from Deputy Commissioner Keyes, reported that 175 curfew violators were ready to be transported – also that they had not been fed. Information passed to Major Gaeng at 0925 upon his return to CP who handled situation.
0846 Bomb scare at Junior High School, Pratt and Ellwood. Investigated by unit
202 – no bombs found.
0925 Bomb scare Eastern High School. Investigated by units 402 and 431 – no bomb found.
0904 Bomb scare 229 North Franklintown Road. Investigated by unit 726, no bomb found.
0945 Unit 302 reports auto in 600 Block Mosher Street with sign “Lafayette Square 2 P.M. – We want it to stop now – Let’s meet at Lafayette Square at 2 P.M.” CP’s notified.
0950 Chief Judge Foster inquired about resuming Criminal Court Thursday 4/11/68. Deputy Commissioners Murdy and Poole advised him that we believe it better to wait until Monday. Upon calling him, he said Warden Schoenfield also advised Monday and that it was so decided. (VE 7-0693) Teletype D-1536
0958 Councilman Alpert requested detail at 833 Madiera Avenue (728-8700). Major Shanahan notified CP 2 to provide special attention – no detail. Councilman Alpert so advised by Major Shanahan.
1010 One arrest between 9 – 10 A.M. Total 5299.
1011 Fines accepted at City Jail. Teletype D-1534.
1015 Radio reports curfew for Wednesday, April 11 will be 10 P.M. to 4 P.M.. Confirmed by 5th Regiment Armory. Teletype D-1535.
1016 (Late entry) Traffic Court open Thursday. Teletype D-1536
1020 Captain Rice said he had excellent information that Stokely Carmichael is in Baltimore. Believed to be in a light blue lic. 57646 or cream Plymouth DC 311-056. Chief Battaglia, Majors Shanahan, Schnabel and Harris notified. Also Officer Blessing, Inspectional Services Division.
1049 Chief Judge Dulaney Foster has advised that the regular Criminal Court assignment will resume at 10 A.M., Monday, April 15, 1968. Criminal Courts will be available to hear curfew cases April 10, and April 11, 1968 Teletype D-1536. The curfew will be in effect in Baltimore City from 10:00 P.M. 4/10/68 until 4:00 A.M. Teletype D-1537 & D-1536 (Late Entry)
1050 Arrangements made for escort and bus guards for 5 buses on shuttle detail, City Jail to Criminal Court House.
1115 Information from Sergeant Eben, Intelligence Division, 250,000 firearms including 100,000 handguns are stored at Union Industrial Warehouse, 4401 Eastern Avenue. Has no private security. Has A.D.T. alarm, SEDistrict, Deputy Chief Area 1 office, 5th Regiment Armory notified.
1144 Bomb scare at Read’s Drug Store Warehouse, 2523 Gwynns Falls Parkway. Investigated by Car 621 – unfounded.
1235 Bomb Scare at Douglas High School, Gwynns Falls and Pulaski Street. Bomb to go off at 12:30. Call was traced to telephone number 728-9482, pay phone located on the second floor of Douglas High School. Investigated by Baltimore Chief #7, Eng Co. 2, Truck Co. 18.
1300 Total arrests between 12 A.M. and 1 P.M. = 5. Grand total of 5307 arrests.
1301 Received call from Mrs. Krukowski from Commissioner’s Officer in regards to a complaint from Mr. James Williams, 1135 W. Saratoga. Complainant is blind and he stated that his 13 year old son told him a police car drove by and threw tear gas bomb at him causing burning of the eyes. Car 724 (veh#9682) responded. Unit 724 was manned by Officer Markenlonis and Officer Carr. They stated that they talked to two witnesses who the original complaint was unfounded although officers did find fragments of what appears to be a tear gas bomb. Unit 724 will make an M.I. and bring fragments in. Mrs. Krukowski was advised by Major Pomrenke to have radio dispatch another car to 1135 West Saratoga to explain the investigation to Mr. Williams.
1315 Bomb report of bomb placed in Chassers at 1427 Ashland Avenue. Car 308 is investigating. Reported as burned out building – unfounded.
1351 Referred to teletype to pick up one Stokley Carmichael is hereby cancelled. Do not pick up. However, if observed notify Deputy Commissioner of Operations at once. Teletype D-1305 part cancelled and added.
1355 (Delayed entry) State Police were relieved at 0500 but will remain on 1010 alert per request of Lt. General York and Commissioner Pomerleau: In one hour – 100 men; 2 hours – 200 men; 3 hours – 300 men.
1400 Ball game command post set up in Hecht Northwood Parking Lot.
1500 Southeastern District advised to pay special attention to Montebello Liquor, Bank and Central Streets.
1505 Captain Ridgeley reported threat to Maryland Health Department at 2300 North Charles Street – unfounded.
1515 Judge R. Murphy and Assistant Oken visited Headquarters and toured city with Officer Eddins.
1957 Copy to Military Teletype
TF Bal G2
O 1021152 Apr 68
FR Co. Ren 1
To Co. 10918 MI GP
UNCLAS From Opns. Off for DCEP-B-DC
B. Spot Report – 8101 – 182
C. Summary of Activities – Civil Disturbance – Apr 68
Frank X Gallagher, Baltimore City Councilman, third district, furnished a copy of a printed handout that is currently being passed around in his area. The handout was passed among his neighbors, NFI., until it reached the hands of one of his business partners, who in turn gave it to Gallagher. The handout announces a “Procession of Penance,” scheduled for 1230 to 1400 hours 13 Apr 68 / Saturday /. The handout stated reason for the march was “To confess the guilt of white racism and to pledge ourselves to the cause for which Dr. Martin Luther King lived and died.” The plans are to assemble 1200 hours at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, NFI, at 1230 hours, proceed to Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, NFI, then to Grace Methodist Church, NFI, and back to the Cathedral. Gallagher is against this march and is going to discourage it. He feels there are many whites in his district that would make trouble, especially so soon after recent civil disorder.
0010 Bomb scare at Afro-American newspaper. Unfounded.
0045 All Districts notified that men are not to return sniper fire unless fired upon by a sniper who can be seen. In such cases, a Sergeant or Lieutenant will be immediately sent to the scene to take charge.
0400 End of curfew.
0600 No arrests reported between 5:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M.
Action Report, Baltimore Police Department
From 0600 Hours, Thursday, April 11, 1968
To 0600 Hours, Friday, April 12, 1968
The twenty-four hour period preceding this report showed a considerable decrease in reports of fires and lootings and definite increase in unfounded threats of fires and disorders. One bomb scare at Douglas High School was traced to a pay telephone on the second floor of that school. The opening game of baseball season which had been delayed one day was played without incident on Wednesday. Curfew in effect on Wednesday night was the final curfew, from 10:00 P.M. to 4:00 A.M.
II. SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
0600 No arrests reported between 5:00A.M. and 6:00A.M., Grand total: 5,704 April 11, 1968.
0650 No Arrests reported between 6:00 A.M. and 7:00 A.M., Grand total 5,704 April 11, 1968. Entered 0714.
0700 Prisoners Held by Locations:
Youth Division 44
City Jail (Approx.) 200
0807 Officer Stem, Northern District, advised no fire at Department of Education building, 3 East 25th Street.
0850 1 arrest throughout city between 0800 and 0900. Grand total 5709.
0952 No arrest throughout city between 0900 and 1000. Grand total 5709.
1053 1 arrest throughout city between 1000 and 1100. Grand total 5711.
1201 No arrest throughout city between 1100 and 1200. Grand total 5711
1206 Officer Bolton – Message Center – advised teletype for 109 Corps G-2 sale of alcohol and gasoline lifted as of 1200.
1235 Deputy Commissioner Poole contacted Brigadier General William Ogletree, Maryland National Guard, requesting assistance at Druid Hill Park on Easter Monday. National Guard will advise of plans when completed.
1239 Tom Gravling, States Attorney’s General’s Office, advised that during the funeral of Doctor King, CORE and SNIC were passing out circulars stating stop, wait until Sunday then we will get the Jews.
1310 Entered following executive order received.
D-253 File 14 SP Pikesville, Md. April 11, 1968To APB – – State Of Maryland
Whereas I, Spiro T. Agnew, Governor of the State of Maryland, have previously issued an executive proclamation proclaiming a situation of public crisis, emergency and civil disturbance within the City of Baltimore and the counties of Baltimore and Cecil, and
Whereas I directed by executive order, that because of such public crisis and emergency, no alcoholic beverages were to be sold on the City of Baltimore and the counties of Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard and Cecil, and
Whereas I directed by executive order, that because of such public crisis and emergency no gasoline was to be sold in Baltimore City of Baltimore County unless dispensed directly into the tank of a motor vehicle, and
Whereas I have now been informed by law enforcement officials and military commanders that the conditions of public crisis and emergency have lessened to a substantial degree in the areas aforementioned and that the restrictions on the sale and distribution of alcohol and dispensing of gasoline are no longer required in these areas,
Now, therefore, by virtue of the foregoing and because I am informed and persuaded that the following dictated by the improvement in the conditions of the public crisis which heretofore existed and now exist to a lesser degree, I do hereby proclaim and issue the following order….
1. All restriction on the Sale, Transfer or dispensing of alcohol beverages in the City of Baltimore, Howard, Anne Arundel and Cecil shall be of no further effect and are removed as or 12-00 o’clock, Noon, April 11, 1968.
2. All restrictions on the sale, transfer or dispensing of gasoline in Baltimore City and Baltimore County shall be of no further and are removed as of 12-00 o’clock, Noon, April 11, 1968.
Given under my hand and the great seal of the State of Maryland in the City of Annapolis this 11th day of April at 10-30 A.M., in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and sixty-eight.
Spiro T. Agnew
Governor of Maryland
Auth Lt. Col. G.E. Davidson – Chief of Operations – Turner 1256
1312 From Operations Bureau 4-11-68
To All Chiefs
Director – Youth Division
Captains – All Districts, Traffic Division and Tactical Sections
The curfew has been lifted relative to everything except the sale of
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Bars can now open and operated during usual hours.
/S/ Operations Bureau W.H.P.
Auth. Commissioner D. D. Pomerleau
. . . . . . . . . . .LM. . . . . . . . . . . . .1228 EST
1311 2 arrests throughout city between 1200 and 1300 hours. Grand total 5717.
1335 Following teletype sent From the Commissioners Officer 4-11-68
To All Bureaus, Division, Districts, and Units
All units will submit to the Director of Fiscal Affairs Division for the period covering 12 Midnight, Friday April 5, 1968, to 12 Midnight Sunday, April 14, 1968, the number of hours of overtime for patrolmen, sergeants, lieutenants, cadets, and civilian personnel by rank or category. This data will be submitted no later that Noon, Monday, April 15th.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Where exact information is not known within the time available, best estimates will be submitted.
/S/ D. D. Pomerleau
. . . . . . . . . . . . . LM. . . . . . . . . . . . 1320 EST
1352 5 arrests throughout city between 1300 and 1400 hours. Grand total 5722.
1445 Lieutenant Rawlings advises at approximately 1438 hours 50 Negro leaders left State Office Building from conference with Governor and are enroute to Douglas Memorial Church located at Madison and Lafayette Streets.
1550 Lieutenant Horton advises he received information that there will be trouble at City Jail between 1600 and 1700 today.
1610 Major Pomrenke and Major Rowlett ordered to stand by at Emergency Headquarters Command Post.
1620 Mr. Donald Schaeffer phoned at 3:30 P.M. that he has been meeting with Jewish Refugee Organization, and stated that Mr. Herman Taub, phone 655-2351 has irrefutable information that Walter Lively has been riding in a car that was throwing fire bombs, and that it can be substantiated by Mr. Ford, phone number 358-6495, information given to Major duBois at 3:45 P.M., April 11, 1968. Submitted to Deputy Commissioner Keyes.
1630 Information from Lieutenant Rawlings, an employee of a Doctor Edel, stated she received information from a minister that there would be trouble tonight on North Gay Street. Information received at 1610.
1630 Mr. Hyman Pressman called Deputy Commissioner Murdy to inquire whether an order existed that police could only shoot to protect officers. He was advised this was inaccurate since officers are required to protect citizens.
1705 Total arrest 5759. 7 arrest from 1600 to 1700.
1735 Returned call to U.S.A. Steve Sachs for U.S.A.G.R. Clark of racial breakdown of deaths resulting from current disturbance in Baltimore. Advised him that preliminary figures showed a total of *6 possible:
1. Homicide 1 c/m found shot in head in burned building at Federal and Chester Streets – unknown.
2. Homicide 1 c/m shot by c/m, night manager of tavern at Harford and Lafayette. (Napoleon K. Slay)
3. Homicide 1 c/m shot in self defense by police officer. – Wm. V. Stepter.
4. Accident 1 c/f died in auto collision with police vehicle.
5. Homicide 1 w/m dead of asphyxiation in burned building at Federal and Chester Streets. – Lee Albright
6. Homicide 1 c/m dead in burned building 400 block Myrtle – Doddie Hudson
1720 (Delayed entry) Meeting of civil rights group at Douglas Memorial Church has ended. All quiet per Lieutenant Rawlings.
1915 (Delayed entry) Press release in response to Governor Agnew by Civil Rights leaders received by Director Morrissey from Dan Riker, Bureau Chief of Untied Press International.
2017 Lieutenant Rawlings called to advise general situation peaceful.
2110 (Delayed entry) 1715 General Ogletree has National Guard companies in following locations available for assignment.
2 Patterson Park
1 Clifton Park
1 Western Police Station
1 Mondawmin Shopping Center
Company has 180 men, 30 minute alert time platoon 44 men immediate alert time. All have fast light equipment as well as heavy trucks.
Central District, Colonel Williams, Pratt and Fallsway – Druid Park Lake – Paca Street at Armory – 140 troops
Central – 20 troop flying squad, 32 troops on call at Central Station (Mobil Task)
Mobile Task Force – C.P.I., 75 troops stationed at Fayette and Front Streets under Colonel Burke.
Eastern – Southeastern- Northeastern has roving patrols, plus troops at Eastern and Southeastern. Task Force 200 troops at Kirk Field.
1510 (Delayed Entry) Mr. Katow, Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Small Business (PL 2-2000 x 565 or Laf 3-1100). Wants permission to announce in Churches Sunday that stolen goods can be returned to churches with no police action taken against them.
1700 (Delayed) Mr. Joseph Smith of the Mayor’s Office is interested in setting up receiving station for stolen goods.
1735 Teletype D1695 sent out regarding New York License 8974KD having Molator cocktails – negative
1825 Total arrests 6:00 P.M. April 11, 1968: 5763
1935 Lieutenant Rawlings reports the following concerning a meeting at Douglas Memorial Church:
“No anger overtone on persons attending meeting. They formed four communities.
1. Economy restoration Committee
2. Job placement for those who lost jobs because of confinement.
3. Medical assistance
4. Food Committee (getting food into stricken areas)
John Mackey – Baltimore Colts
Lennie Moore Baltimore Colts
SNEC (SIC) Walter Lively
2139 Director Osborne closed Civil Defense Headquarters. He and Lieutenant Franz can be reached at their respective homes.
2200 Arrests between 2100 and 2200 = 8, total 5807
2220 Deputy Poole departed Emergency Headquarters Command Post for street.
2250 Deputy Commissioner Poole was notified to call Colonel Edwards 728-3388. By Major Rowlett
2310 Deputy Commissioner Poole notified Emergency Headquarters Command Post he was going home.
2340 Anonymous telephone call received in Communications form intoxicated person, believed to be a male Negro. Call received by Cadet Wright position “H” “That Governor Agnew had better watch himself because he is going to be assassinated.” Information passed to Colonel George Davidson MSP.
April 12, 1968
0003 Information received from Sergeant Karner, Tactical Section, that Stokley Carmichael to be picked up in Washington, D.C. at 1200 and transported to Baltimore to organize a march on City Hall after 1700. Stokley will not participate in the march – – he is supposed to be picked up by Joe Perry and is to meet Melvin Williams and James Wescott. Also Black Nationals 3 or 4 to a car in automobiles bearing DC, NY, and D.C. tags, occupants, number unknown, are supposed to be armed. Information passed to Sergeant Bowen, Inspectional Services Division.
0025 Colored soldier of 101st Engine states that he learned at a meeting that Stokley Carmichael is supposed to meet Joe Perry or Jerry and another colored man, name unknown who is bald at the Alhambra Club tonight – time unknown, to plan a march on City Hall and the Civic Center at 1700.
Sergeant Bowen, Inspectional Services Division, notified. Colored soldier states that he is an undercover man and could not give name. Information received from Officer Butler.
0120 Colored Soldier, 121st Eng. Reports fire bomb 143 North Broadway, 4-5 dead. Lieutenant Tylerinvestigated one dead, 1 seriously burned, CP #1 notified. This is a rooming house. Two units dispatched. Major Armstrong on scene.
0135 Commissioner notified of 0120 and up-dated information 2 injured, 1 dead.
0220 Major Armstrong reports incident recorded on 0120 was accidental fire – no fire bomb; 1 dead and 1 injured.
1830 A teletype was sent by the Police Commissioner to all Bureaus, Divisions, Districts and Units as follows:
Each of you can be extremely proud of the job that the department has accomplished during the past several days. Your individual and collective efforts have been truly professional. Your dedication and devotion to duty and your demonstrated restraint under the most trying conditions possible have been outstanding. We can all be proud of being members of the Baltimore Coty Police Department. I can assure you its performance has established standards for these occurrences that will be most difficult to equal.
We apologize to no one for the conduct of operations. Please continue to exercise your good judgment and restraint as demonstrated during this period of stress as there are some few tensions remaining. We must continue to be ever vigilant in the interests of our community. My sincerest congratulations to each of you and to the department for the tremendous team effort which culminated in a most successful operation.
SERVICES BUREAU OPERATIONS INCIDENT TO CIVIL DISORDERS
6 April 1968 to 12 April 1968
At 1725 hours, 6 April 1968, the Departmental Emergency Mobilization Plan became effective.
At 1838 hours, Phase #4 of the Department’s Mobilization Plan was activated.
As a result of pre-planning, the Headquarters Command Post consisted of the following communication capabilities:
One base console – 155.61 megacycles which transmits and monitors the
City-wide area #4 dispatching office. In addition, a base console – 453.2 megacycles, capable of transmitting and monitoring all units, includes portable transceivers.
Our telephonic communications consisted of two (2) unlisted, private telephones to enable top echelon command personnel, as well as certain state and city officials, to gain quick access to the Headquarters Command Post.
The following were direct lines:
Military Command Post – 5th Regiment Armory
National Guard at Pikesville Armory
And Maryland State Police field command at the State Office Building.
In addition, there were three (3) extensions off the Mulberry Administrative Switchboard and (2) extensions off the Call Box System.
Communications were maintained with the field forces by the following:
4 radio networks on the 150-174 megacycle band and 1 network on the 450-470 megacycle band for a total of 5 radio networks operating. These networks provided communication with 670 police vehicles. In addition, radio communication was maintained with 450 megacycle band with the Military Command Post – 5th Regiment Armory, the Pikesville Armory, Civil Defense Headquarters at 1201 E. Cold Spring Lane.
A metropolitan or mutual aid net work is also maintained which permits communication with the State Police; Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard County Police Departments; U.S. Army Base, Fort Meade, and is interfaced with Washington D.C. Metropolitan Mutual Aid Networks.
There were also 18 cars assigned to the top echelon of this Department, as well as the Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard and the Deputy Adjutant, that were equipped with 450 megacycle mobile radio transceivers.
The aforementioned radio communication was supplemented by 92 portable handie-talkie transceivers. These were distributed to various field command posts, detention centers and to districts to be used in conjunction with military personnel, field command posts at Maryland State Police-State Office Building, the Department’s Community Relations Division, Criminal Investigation Division, Inspectional Services Division-Intelligence Unit, and various other integral units of this Department.
Although the capabilities of our communication system were taxed to the utmost during certain times of the emergency situations, communications were continually maintained between Headquarters, the field forces and other Police Department facilities.
However, we now have under contract with a leading electronic firm, an order to supply and install the necessary electronic equipment to provide this Department with three (3) additional radio networks – 450-470 megacycle band which will increase our capability in rendering even greater communication service.
Our system will further be complimented by an additional 208, 450 megacycle portable radio transceivers which are now on order. Applications have been made to the Federal Communication Commission for 6 additional frequency pairs to meet our projected needs.
The role of the portable radio transceivers in our operation cannot be overly stressed. One of the most important assets is that it provides person to person communications and if it is necessary to leave a vehicle with mobile communication, contact is still maintained either with Headquarters or with fellow officers.
It is recommended that the Federal government stock pile these portable radio transceivers so the other municipalities not having an adequate communication system could be provided with same in the event of an emergency or civil disorder.
There are 14 emergency telephone trunk lines on the Communication Control Center and 10 complaint answering positions. In addition, there are 6 extension lines off the administrative switchboard.
The following number of calls for services were received from 0700 hours, 6 April 1968 to 0700, 12 April 1968:
0700, 6 April to 0700, 7 April – – – – – – 3, 963
0700, 7 April to 0700, 8 April – – – – – – 4, 395
0700, 8 April to 0700, 9 April – – – – – – 4, 736
0700, 9 April to 0700, 10 April – – – – – – 2, 364
0700, 10 April to 0700, 11 April – – – – – 1, 710
0700, 11 April to 0700, 12 April – – – – – 1, 890
Total calls for services – – – – – – – – – – -19, 058
Police Department Motor Vehicle Fleet:
From the time the emergency mobilization plan became effective, the Transportation Officer in charge of the Motor Pool provided the necessary supervision for the operation of our fleet totaling 707 vehicles.
He also established liaison between the Municipal City Repair Garage enabling the fleet together with military vehicles and State Police vehicles to be gassed, serviced and repaired.
In addition he acquired, as a result of prior [planning, 22 Baltimore City Public School buses for the transportation of prisoners and troops, as well as one 20 ton stake-body truck for the purpose of transporting recovered loot.
Up to the present time, 7 police department vehicle windshields were knocked out, 4 back windows demolished and 21 others damaged as a result of stones, rocks, and other missiles that were thrown, and one total loss as a result of a traffic accident.
At 1900 hours, 6 April 1968, the Armory dispatched a loaded van, which was on stand-by in the Headquarters Garage and containing helmets, gas masks, riot batons, tear gas and ammunition, to command Post 2501, Gay and Aisquith Streets.
At 1915 hours, members from various units of the Department appeared at the Armory and were equipped with 300 helmets and 200 riot batons. Riot type shotguns were also issued by the Armory to police officers acting in the capacity of security guards at detention facilities, power substations and guarding prisoners in transport, etc.
Upon request from Command Post 2501, 20 riot-type shotguns were sent to their location at 2200 hours, 6 April 1968.
As various details changed and men reassigned, equipment was turned in and re-issued throughout the emergency period. Twenty-four hour service was maintained for the maintenance of armory equipment.
At 1730 hours, 8 April 1968, upon request from the Field Force Commander, 200 chemical Mace were obtained and distributed between the East and West field command posts.
Transportation of Prisoners:
Prisoners taken into custody by the Police and the military during the emergency period were transported in 27 departmental vehicles, consisting of 10 patrol wagons and 17 cruising patrols. In addition, and as a result of prior planning, 5 buses were secured from Baltimore City Public School System at 0230 hours on 7 April, 1968. By 1600 hours, 7 April 1968, 15 additional buses had been secured from the same source.
These buses were used throughout the emergency period during which time they were operated by personnel of this Department and used to transport prisoners from the scene of arrest to place of booking and thence to a court for trial and if committed, to the Baltimore City Jail.
Security on these buses was provided by both the military and civil police and no damage, as a result of vandalism on the part of the prisoners, was experienced. Prisoners were also transported, in some instances, by vehicles provided for that purpose by the military authorities.
This system of transporting prisoners was satisfactory, however, a refinement in the control and dispatching of the buses can and will be improved upon in the future.
Detention of Prisoners:
This Department has 10 detention facilities with a total capacity of approximately 1,000. When the lock-ups of this Department were filled, Warden of the City Jail agreed to accept prisoners for storage even though they had not been committed by a court.
At 1320 hours, 8 April 1968, when the capacity of the City Jail was reached, the decision to use part of the Civic Center for a place of detention was reached with Captain Lawrence of the Central District acting as liaison; 300 male and 75 female prisoners were sent to that location.
During the entire period of the emergency, only three (3) detention facilities were used – The Police Department facilities, the Baltimore City Jail and the Civic Center.
Transporting problems became critical inasmuch as prisoners were taken from one place to another for booking, then to a court and when the Jail could not receive those committed, back to the Civic Center.
Both the Judiciary of this City (Supreme Bench and Municipal Courts), the State’s Attorney’s Staff and the Attorney General’s Office, displayed a great sensitivity to the problems that were generated by the emergency to the extent that the administration of justice was carried out in a very expeditious and efficient manner. Both judges and prosecutors and members of the Bar often worked an excessive amount of hours and far into the night to accomplish this.
All prisoners in the custody of this Department, both in the departmental lock-ups, as well as the Civic Center, were adequately fed at least three (3) times a day and sometimes four (4), and of the same fare that police officers received. This food was prepared at the commissary of the Mergenthaler High School of the Baltimore City Public School System, staffed by their personnel and delivered to the prisoners by personnel of this Department.
In addition, throughout the entire emergency period, our forces in the field, those assigned to Headquarters Building, and other police facilities, were fed in the same manner and with food prepared as aforementioned and served by units of the Property Division.
The cooperation received by this Department from the school officials deserves unstinted praised.
In the future, many of the shortcoming in the detention of prisoners, and the booking process, as well as their subsequent trials in the courts, as experienced by us during this emergency, could be practically eliminated if consideration was given to a pre-packaging concept of a P.O.W. type stockade facility. This hopefully, would consist of tentage, chemical latrines, flood lights, galley ad sickbay with facilities for a booking and processing area and trial space so that the handling of prisoners could be reduced to the transporting of them from the place of arrest to the stockade where they would be processed, charged and tried. Judges could be available for trial at this installation and in the event of commitment; prisoners could then be transported to the place of incarceration. The resources for this type of facility should be stored at Fort George G. Meade, where it would be readily available in time of need to Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and other East Coast urban centers.
Security of Headquarters Building:
At 1800 hours, 6 April 1968, the security plan for the Headquarters Building was innovated, and the security detail has been maintained on a 24 hour basis from previously mentioned time and still in effect as of this writing.
The security force was recruited from the Property Division, Planning and Research Division, Laboratory Division, Recruitment Unit, Central Records Division, and Police Trainees form the Education and Training Division.
There were no aggressive incidents during the maintenance of this detail, however, the problem of securing the building was complicated by the fact that thousands of persons intent upon providing bail or securing information regarding arrested persons were handled in the court rooms on the first floor of the Headquarters Building.
Recovery of Looted Property:
This Department had previously planned to use a building at 414 N. Calvert Street for the storage of recovered looted property in the event such an occurrence became reality. This storage facility was activated at 2100 hours, 6 April 1968 and is still being used in that capacity. It has been and still being secured, around the clock, by personnel of the Property Division.
Recovered looted property has been transported to the aforementioned building by City-owned trucks, army vehicles, maintenance truck of the Baltimore City Police Department, Cruising Patrols and other Departmental cars.
Although the recovery of the loot has been extensive, the capacity of the building has not been exceeded, nor has the loot been categorized as yet.
CENTRAL RECORDS DIVISION
The Central Records Division was activated in accordance with the Department’s emergency mobilization plan and furnished from that time until the present, statistical information to Headquarters Command Post 2500. The arrest information was identified by district, hour and classification.
Later, the arrests became so numerous that attempting to identify the categories of the crime interfered with arrest procedures. However, information pertaining to the arrest by hour, day, and grand total was maintained and furnished on the hour, every hour, to the Headquarters Command Post.
From 1800 hours, 6 April 1968, 1600 hours, 12, April 1968, there was a total of 5, 950 arrests made. Although the vast majority of these arrests during this period were associated with the civil disorder, the precise number will not be established until all the arrest reports are analyzed. Studies are now being made of all arrest reports connected with the emergency for the gleaning of intelligence and other vital information which will be evaluated and incorporated in future planning by this Department.
When viewed in retrospect, it becomes crystal clear that the cooperation between this Department, the military, Maryland State Police, the courts, prosecutor’s staff, the Attorney General’s Office, Civil Defense, Fire Department, and others, was so outstanding that the violence and destruction emanating from the civil disorders were held to a minimum, which in turn, contributed to the small number of persons killed and injured.
This detailed report of the 1968 Civil disturbance is courtesy of Officer Bobby Brown, Southern District
A soldier stands guard on east Baltimore Street
SUN PAPER PHOTO
Remains – Several clothing dummies lie on sidewalk in the 800 block of North Gay Street after looters swarmed through the area most of the day. Army trucks are parked on street and soldiers with weapons at the ready are patrolling in the background. The area was one of the hardest hit by looters during the riot-filled day.
Store with “Soul Brother” sign
“Real Victim – Property owners and tenants alike both colored and white have become innocent victims of violence which has rocked Baltimore in the last few days. Here grocer, Carl Krieger weeps outside of his store at North Avenue and Chester Street after troopers have routed looters
SUN PAPER PHOTO
SUN PAPER PHOTO
Demonstration at Coppin State April 7, 1968
SUN PAPER PHOTO
Firefighters working the blaze at Federal Street & Harford Rd. April 7, 1968
Curfew violator resists arrest at Gay & Forrest Streets April 8, 1968
Baltimore Police Officer standing guard at Gay & Orleans Streets April 8, 1968
SUN PAPER PHOTO
Looter shot by Police after attacking the officer with a knife April 8, 1968
National Guard hold looters on Biddle St. near Madison Ave. April 8, 1968
Major “Box Harris” and arrested looters – Pennsylvania Avenue
K9 Officer on Howard Street viewed from Franklin Street
Mapping Strategy For Aid … Council President Donald Schaefer and Robert Osborne
SUN PAPER PHOTO
Fires burning in the background from the Old Town Market Clock Tower April 8, 1968
SUN PAPER PHOTO
The smoke of scattered fires clouds the air of a sunny Palm Sunday, marred by violence that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This view is a section of East Baltimore. Rioters hampered firefighters in their efforts to douse the many fires. April 8, 1968
National Guard on the scene of a fire April 8, 1968
SUN PAPER PHOTO
Governor Spiro Agnew announces the 4 p.m. curfew for Baltimore yesterday accompanied by Maj. Gen. George M. Gelston, state adjutant general; Mayor Thomas L. J. D’Alesandro III; and Francis B. Burch, attorney general.
April 8, 1968
Greenmount & North Ave. April 9, 1968
National guardsman atop city jail guarding riot artestees April 11, 1968
General George Gelston And His New Army of Volunteers …members of the Negro community offer to quell disorder in inner city.” April 10, 1968
“Study in Contrasts – Three happy youngsters at the doorway of the Community Action Agency center at 1327 East Eager Street present a contrast to the serious situation that exists in Baltimore today. An Army trooper stands guard against future rioting as victims of four days of fires and destruction line up for food. Some 82,000 tons of federal surplus food were made available today at the six CAA centers in the city.” April 9, 1968
CIVIL DISORDER IN BALTIMORE CITY
THE 1968 RIOTS
By Retired Officer Melvin Howell
I remember the riots in Baltimore City and the things that happened at that time. I had been pulled from the Northwest along with another officer, to work a few weeks on some burglaries in the Central District. We had gone to headquarters building to get information on a guy we considered a suspect.
The old headquarters, a large, five story building, was located at Fayette and Fallsway. I always thought the inside was beautiful and I always regretted that it was torn down. The Central District was located on the first floor along with the Central District Court and Traffic Court for the city. The second floor had the Traffic Division for the city, and on the third floor was the Detectives, Homicide, Robbery, and Holdup Squad, etc. The fourth floor was Central Records, and the Police Commissioner and Chief Inspector had their offices there also. On the fifth floor was the Vice Squad. An elevator went up to the fourth floor but then you had to take the stairs to the fifth. You could also take stairs up to the roof of the building, which was just a flat roof. You could go up there and see the whole city in any direction – quite a sight. In the basement of the building there was a drive in area where departmental cars were gassed up. The Police Commissioner and Chief Inspector parked here along with some detective cruisers. . The north side of the building had a parking area that held the Traffic Division cars plus those for Vice Squad and more Detective cruisers. There was a guard shack usually manned by a traffic officer who was on light duty, recovering from injury, sickness, etc. The first floor of headquarters building was really good looking. The walls around the elevator area were all of white Italian marble, floor to ceiling. The rest of the walls in the hallways were white marble halfway up. It was real pretty. In the first floor courtrooms, the bottom half of the walls were white marble and also there was white marble in the bathrooms. There was a stairway on the north side of the building leading up to where the newspaper reporters had their office. One of these reporters would get so drunk he rarely left the office. He would see me when I was working in Vice, and ask, “What’s going on, anything worth writing?” He would write up what I told him and it would be in the paper. As far as I know he never checked it out. He worked upstairs three or four years before he was finally fired.
Anyway, after we had finished our business about the burglary suspect, we walked outside. I saw a Lieutenant I knew and we started talking about cases we had been on together. We were standing on the drive in ramp outside Central District where his car was parked nearby and we had the door open so we could hear the police radio. A call came in to assist an officer at Gay and Hillen Street at the location of the old Bel Air market. The Lieutenant was the duty officer for the Central District, so he, a fellow officer and myself jumped into the Lieutenant’s car and proceeded to the market which was about seven or eight blocks from headquarters. On our arrival, we saw the foot post officer standing on the corner and when he saw us he started to run towards the car. Behind him, a way’s off, was a crowd of 170 to 200 black people going north on Gay Street and as they moved along, they were breaking out the plate glass windows in all the stores. This area was highly concentrated with stores, some of which had been in business for nearly 100 years.
The area of the city was called “Old Town” and some still call it that yet today. We saw the people were pilfering as they walked along.
The foot patrolman reached our car and the Lieutenant asked, “What’s happening?” The officer said, “I don’t know. I just know that I saw several black males standing in front of the drug store on the corner. They started shouting and then they used rocks to break out the windows and then all of a sudden a crowd started gathering.” The Lieutenant called for more police to our location and advised the dispatcher what was happening. Within a half-hour we had the same situation occurring in the Northwestern District of Pennsylvania Avenue from north of the police station all the way up Pennsylvania Avenue. A beautiful old theatre stood in this area as well as a variety of businesses. The department was rushing as many officers as they could into these areas to maintain some order. The next thing we knew the crowd started setting fire to buildings. Fire engines were being called out all over the city.
Whole city blocks were soon on fire and we knew we had something going on that was more than just a civil disturbance. Things were out of hand. The department called in everyone who wasn’t already on duty. The Fire Department was really hamstrung, because every time they would go to the scene of a fire, they came under sniper fire, not usually directed at the men, but the engines and equipment. Three quarters of the business area on Pennsylvania Avenue from Hoffman Street all the way past the open-air market to Mosher Street was on fire. A decision was made that the fire department not respond to calls in certain areas of the city until the police got more control over the crowds of rioters and routed out the snipers.
I suggested to the Lieutenant that we should drive to the sporting goods store on Baltimore Street, which was not too far from the Central District. I felt we should make sure the rioters didn’t get in that store because they had a great deal of ammunition and guns there. We also went to the large department store at North Avenue and Harford since they had a lot of guns and ammo in their sporting goods section. We stayed at the first store until the foot patrolman who was at Baltimore and Holiday Street came to stand guard over the place. At the next store we had a radio car come to the scene and stay. We were trying to get a handle on things – it was completely out of control.
The crowd was going up Baltimore Street to Broadway. At that intersection they were met by a large group of American Indians who had lined themselves up across the intersection and refused to allow the blacks to pass them. They told the rioters, “This is where it ends, you don’t come here!” The Indians lived in that area and they were trying to protect it. We found out about this incident after the fact. I thought it was great that the Indians protected their territory like that. I’m sure they must have been armed in some way but no police had seen this take place.
Anyhow, it worked and the rioters turned and went another way.
The crowd of rioters headed east on Monument toward the business area. There were quite a few small shops there. They kept breaking out the glass as they went, picking up whatever they could find to use to break the glass. I saw one guy use a bicycle. Some used trash cans, or stones, whatever they could find. The crowd was very loud from the start, hollering, shouting but not saying anything we could understand. They stole anything that was in a store window, sofas, chairs, tables, clothes, whatever. We weren’t trying to stop the theft at this time; we were just trying to contain the crowd from going any further. I remember we passed a small, well-known hamburger place at Washington and Monument Streets. They had knocked the glass out of the door. We stopped and I got out and stepped into the shop to see if anyone was still inside. It was an eerie feeling to see the coffee cups still setting on the counter and steam still coming off the coffee. No one was inside.
The windows were all knocked out but the cash register was still intact. We could hear the crowd shouting and hollering going on down the street and we could hear the glass breaking.
We tried to arrest as many people as we could. The regular police wagons were not of any help, they were just too small, so we brought in buses, mostly school buses.
We were locking up 50 to 75 people at a time just trying to get a handle on the situation. The Lieutenants, Captains and Inspectors had a meeting and it was decided that we did not have enough long guns for us to manage. In our arsenal we had only about 125. It was decided to send a Lieutenant and a couple patrolmen to a well known firearm factory up in Connecticut. The company had been called and our predicament explained. They had agreed to have the factory open when the officers arrived so they drove up right away. They had a purchase order with them and returned the second day with 250 long guns. The guns were distributed to men in the Central, Northeast and Northwest Districts. 90% of the rioters were in these areas. We had men in riot gear marching to the crowds trying to contain them, and we stationed men in a perimeter around whole neighborhoods. As we became more visible some of the rioters went on to their homes. In other districts of the city we would have calls come in for “Breaking and Entering” and many burglaries were taking place. What was happening was that when people learned the police were all in certain areas of town, they took the opportunity to break into businesses in their own area and loot whatever they wanted. When we would get the call and get to the scene they would always be gone and then another call would come in for the same thing in another section of the city. It was a circus.
On the second night, the Governor called in the Maryland State Police and activated the National Guard to help us. We just didn’t have enough men. State Police cars were lined up on the west side of Howard Street from Maryland General Hospital to Pratt and Howard. This was to protect vandals from hitting the downtown shopping area with its large department stores.
The National Guard was a big help to us. Their headquarters was at the 5th Regiment Armory on Preston Street, and their men were deployed around the city at various locations. At three of these locations there were machine gun emplacements, one at 33rd Street and Greenmount Avenue, one at North Avenue and Harford, at Sears Roebuck Store, and one at Mondawmin Shopping Center.
Also, a number of National Guard troops were assigned to Jeeps and placed in strategic areas such as Pennsylvania and North, Gay and Broadway and Monument and Broadway. When a radio car was called to a particularly “hot spot” location, the three men in the National Guard Jeep would respond, following behind the car. They had facilities set up at the Armory to feed their men and provide a sleeping area.
I didn’t get home for three days. We had nothing to eat, since none of the restaurants were open. The prisoners we arrested were fed but there was nothing offered the cops on the streets. Finally, a few men who had homes in the vicinity had their wives bring in sandwiches. The first sleep I got was on the second night. I slept on a pool table in the Central District, because it was the only place I could find to lie down.
We got calls from all over the city. One was to North Avenue and Greenmount. Someone was breaking into a liquor store. Another plain-clothes officer and I responded. The liquor store was approximately 100 yards from North Avenue, on the west side of Greenmount Avenue, near an alley. When we pulled up, I observed two men coming out of the liquor store. Each one was carrying two cases of what appeared to be whiskey. They began running up the alley. I jumped out and fired the shotgun over their heads. With that, both men stopped about 75 feet up the alley. I approached and handcuffed both of them and brought them back to the car.
When I went back to the alley to retrieve the whiskey, it was gone. Someone had apparently seen what was happening, grabbed the whiskey and ran off.
An alarm rang outside a grocery store in the 900 block of east Biddle Street. As I got out of the car, I saw a young boy, maybe 9 or 10 years old coming out the door. He was carrying at least a dozen boxes of Wheaties cereal. I made him put the cereal back. Adults weren’t the only ones looting and taking part in destruction of stores. A lot of children were also willing participants, following the example of the adults.
We were standing on the ramp again at Central District discussing how best to post men in the various parts of the city. A call came in that firemen who had responded to a call at Chase and Asquith Street were being pinned down by sniper fire. I was familiar with that location, it was right across from St. James Catholic Church.
There was a small grocery store on the northwest corner of the intersection, and this was where the fireman had been called. I took the radio car by myself because I didn’t know just how many firemen were there and I needed room for them. I had a shotgun with me that I had gotten from a local sporting goods company. The gun only held three rounds at a time. I had gotten it when we first went to the store to be sure it was secure from the rioters. I had told the clerk I needed a shotgun and that I wanted a 32 inch goose gun. He gave it to me, and I returned it once the riots were over. When I got to the intersection where the firemen were, I could see ahead a couple of blocks that the grocery store was completely engulfed in fire with flames coming from the windows and out the side of the building up past the second floor.
The fire truck was parked diagonally across the intersection. It was a hook and ladder truck and the firemen were lying on the ground underneath the truck. I pulled in adjacent to the fire engine and as I got out of the car, someone in the crowd that was milling around, threw a large number tin cans of tomatoes through the windshield of my radio car. With that, I fired one round in the air, which caused people to scatter. Thankfully, the sniper must have gotten the message that someone else had a gun because the shooting stopped. I hollered for the firemen to get into the radio car and not to worry about their fire engine – just get in the car!
There were 6 firemen; all who managed to get into the car. I pointed the vehicle down Chase Street toward Central Avenue and as we were driving I observed a man only about 20 years old, walking unsteadily in the middle of the street. I saw blood was coming from his back. I stopped the car and got out and walked over to him. I told him who I was because I was in plain clothes. It was then that I saw there was a bullet hole in his back. He said he had heard the shot and knew he was hit but he didn’t know how bad he was hurt. He said he was having trouble breathing. I led him over to the curb and sat him down and told him I would call for an ambulance, which I did via our dispatcher. I drove the firemen to the Fire Department Headquarters at Gay and Hillen Streets, which is about a block away from Central District. The firemen were very grateful and kept thanking me for helping them. We needed the long guns because just the sight of them had an effect on the rioters and they also spoke to snipers in that they could “reach out” further than a handgun when fired. Pistols and revolvers just would not do the job in a situation like this.
By this time we had arrested about 1700 people. The magistrates were trying cases in the big court downtown at Fayette and Calvert Street, and we were only booking prisoners in the station houses not using the small courts. We were transporting prisoners to the big court where the judges were handling cases on an individual basis as much as possible. Those who had broken out glass, or looted were tried one at a time. The courts were overwhelmed, even though we had about 30 judges sitting. We used every courtroom or any large room we could find.
Finally, we got all the fires out and the city was brought under control after about 4 or 4 and a half days. At this time there were also riots taking place in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. It was always said that the riots were not coordinated but you can see word was passed along so that things were in turmoil up through the eastern seaboard. Fortunately, no policemen or firemen were shot during the riots, but a lot of us sustained minor injuries. Three citizens were killed by snipers. We were very, very fortunate not to have more people killed. It was surely an ugly time.
I don’t know that it was ever determined what really triggered the riots.
Speculation had that it was contrived to disrupt the cities, but why we will never know.
Timeline: Baltimore Riots of 1968
This is by no means a comprehensive document. It is based on what little historical information about the unrest is available from common sources. The supporting data were compiled mostly from local newspaper accounts of the events. This timeline does, however, provide a fairly conclusive picture of what occurred during the riots.Some local events as context:
Monday, June 2, 1958 • Martin Luther King Jr. is awarded an honorary degree – doctor of law — at Morgan State College along with three others including two Baltimoreans, Jacob Blaustein and Walter Sondheim Jr. King was the principal speaker before 3,000 gathered at Hughes Memorial Stadium on the Morgan campus.
December 20, 1963 • King speaks during the Baltimore Freedom Rally before a crowd of more than 8,000 at the Baltimore Civic Center. During the rally an anonymous bomb threat was called in. A search by police and fire crews found nothing. The crowd was not informed.
Saturday October 30, 1964 • King comes to Baltimore as part of a multi-city campaign to encourage Negroes to vote in upcoming elections.
Friday April 1, 1965 • King, following a meeting in Baltimore of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, announces plans to launch a new drive to register Negroes in the South.
April 22, 1966 • King gives a speech, “Race and the Church,” before a gathering of Methodist clergy at the Baltimore Civic Center.
July 1, 1966 • King cancels a visit to Baltimore where he was to speak at the convention of the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE).
Saturday, November 12, 1966 • King visits Baltimore. During a news conference he presses the federal government to pass a fair housing law and calls for Americans to begin electing persons to office based on their ability and not their skin color.
March 1968 • King is scheduled to visit Baltimore but changes his plans and goes to Memphis, Tenn. to march with striking sanitation workers.
Thursday, April 4, 1968 • 6:01 p.m. —Martin Luther King is assassinated in Memphis • Night: Northwest Baltimore Tavern hit by Molotov cocktails; fire at three stores at Cherry Hill Shopping Center; vacant downtown building set afire; Park Heights—fire bombs at tavern; vandals at tax accounting office; debris fire at Fayette and Paca; attempted fire in the 500 block of W. Coldspring Lane.
Friday, April 5, 1968 •National Guard on standby •No significant occurrences •Heavy violence in other cities including Detroit and Washington, D.C.The unrest begins in Baltimore:
Saturday, April 6, 1968 • National Guard on standby during day • Riots begin in earnest in Baltimore. • Noon—Peaceful gathering of 300 at memorial service for King • 2 p.m.—Service ends, city is peaceful • 4 p.m.—Commemorative interdenominational service • 5 p.m.—First reports of store windows being smashed and disturbances in the 400 block of N. Gay St. on the east side • 5:30 p.m.—Violence breaks out in Gay Street “ghetto” area • 5:40 p.m.—All policemen in Central district ordered to posts • 6 p.m.—First reports of looting at drycleaners, Gay and Monument streets. Police move in to seal Gay St. from the 400 to 700 block (side streets as well). • 6 p.m.—Looting at Gay and Monument streets • 6:15 p.m.— First report of fire at Ideal Furniture Company, 700 block of N. Gay. Police pelted with stones and bottles as they seal off Gay from the 400 block North to the 700 block. • 6:30 p.m.— Two alarm fire in Lewis Furniture Co., another furniture store in the 700 block of Gay. Fire goes to two alarms by 6:40 p.m. • 6:50 p.m.—All off-duty policemen ordered to report; headquarters set up at Bel-Air Market. • Evening—Complete curfew declared in city between 11 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Sunday. Approximately 6,000 National Guard troops enter the city, under the command of Maj. Gen. George Gelston. Two people (one black, one white) burn to death in a blaze at Federal and Chester streets. A three-building fire at the corner of Harford Avenue is the most serious of the night. A black man is shot and killed at Harford Road and Lafayette Ave. Sales of alcohol, flammables in containers, and firearms are banned in city. Alarms go off all night on Gay St. from 400 to the 1100 block. Johns Hopkins Hospital staff are asked to stay on duty all night. • 7:15 p.m.—Economy/furniture/appliance store broken into by 50 youths in the 900 block of N. Gay. They tear away protective iron gratings and loot the store. A crowd of boys is dispersed from Mondawmin, and at Harford Road and North Ave. • 7:20 p.m.—Police arrive at a scene of looting and call the atmosphere a “carnival.” • 8 p.m./8:10 p.m.—Maryland Gov. Spiro Agnew declares a state of emergency in Baltimore. Officers from the Maryland State Police move into the city and are placed under the command of Baltimore City Police Commissioner Donald Pomerleau. A fire is reported in a tailor’s shop in the 2300 block of Greenmount. Mayor Tommy D’Alessandro reports to a communication center at police headquarters at Fallsway and Fayette. • 8:05 p.m.—Looting and burning of a tailor shop in the 900 block N. Gay St. • 8:45 p.m.—The worst fire yet is reported, at an A&P in the 1400 block of N. Milton in East Baltimore. The store is looted and then burned along with and three other stores. By 9:30 p.m. it is a four-alarm fire, with onlookers throwing stones and bottles. The Levinson and Klein store at Monument and Chester streets is looted. • 9:00 p.m.—By this point, 1,200 to 1,500 officers are in East Baltimore • 9:15 p.m.—Gov. Agnew says the situation is in control. Rioting threatens to move northward, but police assure the governor that nothing will get out of hand. Agnew reportedly doesn’t believe them. City leaders stress that the declaration of emergency is only a “precautionary measure.” • 9:20 p.m.—Police arrest seven people riding in truck loaded with bricks and rocks on Madison St. near Greenmount Ave. There is a fire in the 4700 block of Park Heights. • 9:30 p.m.—Police set up a command post at Park Circle on the west side as a precautionary measure. During the day there were only a few scattered incidents there. In the Ashland Ave. and Aisquith St. area, there are disturbances which generate a police response. The crowd flees, chanting “We shall overcome.” A murder is reported at Lucas Tavern in the 400 block of N. Carey St. (The incident is questionably related to the riot). • 9:30 p.m.— Baltimore police set up a command post at Park Circle. • 9.35 p.m.—At North Ave. and possibly Greenmount Ave., rocks are thrown. The same thing happens at Gay from Chase to Orleans. Three stores on Greenmount from the 1900 to the 2300 block are burned by firebombs. Two stores on Greenmount in the 1200 block are burned. • 10 p.m.—By this point, a dozen stores on Greenmount Ave. are on fire and looters have crossed North Ave. Sporadic fires and pillaging are reported on the west side. Looting and burning sweeps up Greenmount Ave. and crosses North Ave. • 10:10 p.m.—Gov. Agnew commits the National Guard. He bans the sale of liquor, firearms, and gasoline in surrounding counties. He puts in place a curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. • 10:30 p.m.—Violence on Gay Street is declared “out of control.” Gay St. area merchants, armed with rifles, board up their stores. • 10:45 p.m.—In the 900 block of N. Gay a jewelry store is firebombed. • 11 p.m.—By this time, police have arrested 100. Looting begins on Pennsylvania Ave. in the 1200-2000 blocks • 11:15 p.m.—National Guard troops move from the 5th Regiment Armory on trucks. Things quiet down. They take over the area from 25th St. to North Ave. Baltimore officers and Maryland State Police patrol the area south of North Ave. • 11:30 p.m.—Baltimore Mayor D’Alessandro appears on television. He appeals to citizens to obey curfew and pleads for peace. Fire captain is injured by a thrown glass bottle in the 1000 block of N. Gay. • Summary for the day: Three killed, 70 hurt, 100 arrested, high levels of violence, looting downtown, 250 fire alarms. Boundaries of violence extend from Greenmount, North Ave., Chester and Baltimore. Most serious areas are in the 1900 and 2300 blocks of E. Monument, the 700 and 900 blocks of N. Gay, and at the intersection of North and Greenmount Ave.
Sunday April 7, 1968 • Midnight—Despite the curfew, looting and burning start up again. East Baltimore police send 400-500 Guardsmen armed with bayonets onto Aisquith to 25th St. to stop curfew violators. A dozen troop carriers are dispatched from the Armory. At Milton Ave. and Preston St., a food market/five and dime is looted and set ablaze. • 1:45 a.m.—City reported to be “relatively quiet.” Sniper fire at police cruisers is reported at N. Fulton and Lafayette Ave. The mood of the crowds is “uglier” than on Saturday. • 7:30 a.m.—After a lull, looting picks up again • Morning—Gen. York comes to Baltimore. An early tour is made by D’Alessandro on Palm Sunday. Things are relatively calm. On Pennsylvania Ave., in the 900 block of North Ave., and the 600 block of Gay St., lootings are reported. Thirty-two are treated for injuries, and 47 fires are set in the area overnight. There are further reports of problems at 42nd St. at York Road and at Walbrook Junction. A two-alarm fire is reported at Federal St. and Milton Ave. Two fires break out two blocks apart—at Federal and Holbrook Sts., and Harford Rd. and Lanvale St. Looting is reported at Pressman St. and Fulton Ave. About 50 looters strike an abandoned liquor store three blocks south on Pressman. The intersection of Fulton Ave. and Baker St. is cordoned off. Nearly 300 angry youths throw stones and bricks at passing cars. At North Ave., looting is at its heaviest anywhere in the city. • Late morning/early afternoon—Police cars are lined up at Gay and Aisquith expecting calls. In the 2100 block of W. Baltimore St., a bus driver is robbed. There are so many people under arrest that school buses are being used to transport them instead of police wagons and patrol cars. County fire companies begin to be placed on stand-by. In the 1700 block of Harford Road, and on Eden and Gay streets there are fires, the latter being a huge one. Crowds chant “We’ve got the key to the city” and “We shall overcome.” At Lafayette and Fulton avenues, and in the 900 block of Fulton, police respond to sniper warnings. In the 800 block of Gay St., a man is killed behind the 1200 block of E. Madison St. after being chased following a looting. Another 10 stores are looted in the 900 block of Whitelock St. Two blocks there are cordoned off. • 9 a.m.—Calls from the west side requesting shelter increase after this point. • 10 a.m.—Rain begins; looting slows. • 11 a.m.—At Whitelock St. and Callow Ave., a fire is reported at a Buick service station; an unruly crowd gathers near firemen. Fire breaks out in several buildings in the 2200 block of Fulton Ave. • 11:30 a.m.—Soldiers use tear gas to break up a crowd of about 300 blacks who smashed the windows of a grocery at North Ave. and Chester St. • Noon—First major fire of the day, a two-story brick furniture warehouse a half block west of the 1700 block of Guilford Ave. and Lanvale. At the city jail, inmates briefly refuse to return to cells after lunch. Police arrest 10 looters at a pawn shop at Bond and Monument streets; the store is later set on fire. A fire takes place in a store in the 900 block of W. North Ave.; it is burned along with three other buildings. Fires on Harford Ave., from Federal St. to North Ave., are reported. • 12:15 p.m.—Cordon lifted. • Afternoon—Looting and burning continues. National Guardsmen respond to hundreds of fires where they protect firefighters. Looting is reported in the 1800 block of Greenmount Ave. Police worry that the National Guard is not protecting all critical spots. At North and Linden Aves. there are reports of looting and burning. A fire is called in at Falls Road and 41st St. A grocery at Federal and Barclay streets is burned. Cars parked on East Baltimore streets are looted for parts and tires. A four-alarm fire breaks out at Guilford and Lanvale St. In the 900 block of W. North Ave., fires break out at a surplus store and three other buildings at Linden and North Ave. Looters are reported at the market a half block away. Precautionary moves are taken by officials in the early afternoon to protect the downtown shopping area. Looters strike the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Ave. In the 900 block of Whitelock St., a grocery store burns, and liquor and groceries are looted. There are unconfirmed reports of snipers, bringing state police and soldiers in to protect firemen. Later in the day, three dead are identified: killed at Harford and Lafayette, Federal and Chester, and North Ave. One person is shot in the 3500 block of Park Heights Ave. Teenage looters are reported as far north as the Pimlico area. Fires are being successfully battled, but the looting gets worse. At Federal and Milton, a fire breaks out in a liquor store. Gay St. to Broadway appears to be the center of problems. A fire is reported at W. North Ave, and surrounding stores are burglarized. All off-duty firemen are ordered back to duty. Saturday’s violence is confined to a 20-by-10 block on the east side spreading to the west side. • 1:30 p.m.—State’s attorney Charles Moylan Jr. is quoted as saying, “The looting in the eastern half of Baltimore has reached terrible proportions.” Large crowds gather on Baltimore St. in “the block area.” They break up by 3:30 p.m. as the police K-9 corps moves in. • 2 p.m.—Curfew hour is ordered advanced to 4 p.m. Gasoline sales and other inflammables are banned (except in cars). No alcohol is sold in Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Howard counties. (Bans go into effect at this time.) State, city and county offices close. • 2:15 p.m.— Three courts close. • 2.30 p.m.— Flare up at city jail between 250 prisoners. Four blocks of Harford Ave., from Federal St. to North Ave., that were hard hit by Saturday night’s arson and looting erupt again. A luncheonette is set on fire, and two blocks north a deli and three houses are burned. • 3 p.m.—A police command post at Gay and Aisquith reports that between 400 and 500 people are looting stores near Monument and Bond Streets and Sinclair Lane. The first use of tear gas by National Guard takes place at the American Brewery complex. The building is looted and burned on Gay St. five blocks below North Ave. Major looting is reported on Lamont St. and Harford Ave. By this point more than 30 have been arrested in the Western District alone. Most are charged with looting and burning. • 3:30 p.m.—The eastern command post runs out of police cars. Blacks and whites work together to quell four fires beside the B&O tracks near Howard, Sisson, and 26th streets on the west side. A crowd on Baltimore St. disperses. • 3:40 p.m.—Three stores are looted at Guilford and 21st St. and at Fayette and Gilmore. A thrown brick cuts a patrolman’s head. On Gilmore Ave., from Baltimore to Franklin, a string of drug and liquor stores is looted. At Lexington and Gilmore, 50 people loot a drug store, and another 200 cheer them on. Fire is reported in the 500 block of Roberts St. Looting of a burned out pawn shop at Bond and Monument is reported. A fire in Club Savoy at Bond and Monument streets is called in. Problems are reported at Hoffman and Dallas streets, and Bond and Lanvale streets. An unruly mob gathers in the 2400 block of Barclay St., and a crowd of looters moves in on a warehouse at Guilford and Biddle St. Much of this occurs just 20 minutes before the curfew begins. • 3:45 p.m.—Renewed looting at Ashland Ave. and Aisquith St., North Ave. and Wolfe St., and Preston and Ensor streets. Fire and unruly crowds are reported in the 1700 and 1800 blocks of Harford St. All cars ordered back to patrol, leaving prisoners jailed unofficially and the National Guard patrolling the post. • 4 p.m.—Curfew begins. West side looting quickens; problems reported in the 1500-1700 blocks of Pennsylvania Ave. Police try to seal off the area, but teens circle back to loot liquor stores, with occasional rock and bottle throwing. At Ashland and Broadway, a drycleaners is burned. At Madison and Gay, windows are kicked in at Midway Gas Station. Twenty shotguns are ordered sent up from the Armory, and four cruisers are sent to disperse a crowd of hundreds of youths at Ashland and Central Ave. At Monument and Bond, a pawn shop is looted. Three other stores are looted in the 2000 block of Edmondson Ave. Issues between police and National Guardsmen continue. Six stores are looted on Edmondson Ave. and Payson St. About 300 people mill about in the 2400 block of Barclay St. The Eastern Police District runs short of men. • 4:30 p.m.—By this time mobs are everywhere, from the 700 to the 2000 block of Pennsylvania Ave. At Bond and Madison streets a liquor store is burned and looted. • Evening—A refugee center is set up at 758 Dolphin St. The city jail now holds 500. A fire is reported at Lanvale St. and Guilford Ave. Rocks are thrown at firefighters and newsmen at the scene, and hundreds watch the massive flames for 90 minutes through three alarms. There is a fire at 21st St. and Greenmount Ave., with one store and three homes burned, and a surplus store burned and looted. Two separate fires take place at Monument and Bond, and a tavern and package goods store is looted. From the 2200 to the 1700 block of Monument St., at least 15 stores are looted. Homes burn on N. Broadway. In the 1800 block of Harford Ave., four houses burn in two hours. Army helicopters patrol. Night court plans are made to accommodate the large numbers of arrests made on the west side. A one hour warning is given before curfew violators are arrested. • 5 p.m.—Police begin to arrest curfew violators. The following is a sampling of calls made to the Civil Defense command post in northeast Baltimore after that 4 p.m. curfew: 5:05 p.m.—Fire in 600 block Barnes St. 5:06 p.m. —Fire at Myrtle Ave. and Mosher St., fire at N. Gilmore and Laurens St. 5:07 p.m.—Fire in 1900 block N. Rosedale St., fires in 1000 block E. Lombard St. at N. Calhoun and School, fire at Liberty Heights Ave., at Allendale in the 1500 block of N. Gilmore St., in the 2000 block of E. Biddle St., in the 800 block of N. Port St. , in the 1600 block of E. Eager St. 5:09 p.m.—Police protection requested at N. Poppleton and Saratoga St. 5:10 p.m.—Shooting at Poppleton and Lexington St. 5:11 p.m.—Fire in the 1600 block of Eager St. 5:17 p.m.—Fire in the 1000 block of E. Lombard St. 5:21 p.m.—Fire in the 1800 block of Baker St. 5:31 p.m.—Fire in the 1200 block of E. Preston St. 5:34 p.m.—Fire at E. Chase St. and Lakewood Ave. 5:38 p.m.—Fire at N. Milton Ave. and Preston St. 5:50 p.m.—Fire at N. Washington and Eager6 p.m.—Fires at Gay and Eager, 200 block E. Biddle Street, 700 block of E. 20th St., 30th and Jenifer Sts., 200 block of S. Bethel St. at Bond and Gay, at Madison and Caroline, at Caroline and Dallas, at Ensor and Preston, at Warwick Ave. and Presbury St., at Biddle St. and N. Collington Ave., and in the first block of N. Poppleton St. • Dusk—The number of troops and police is insufficient to quell the disturbances. Riots spread west and intensify. • 6 p.m.—Troops from the 18th Corps Airborne Artillery are bused into Druid Hill Park from Andrews Air Force base in Prince George County. Firing first reported between police and rioters in the west side of the city. There are 6,000 Guardsmen on duty in the city. Several large trash cans are set afire in the Flag House Court Apartments a half block from the Lombard St. fire. Looting at a liquor store at Baker St. and Fulton Ave. is reported. Looting is seen in the 3500 block of Park Heights Ave. City jails are filled to overflowing within two hours after curfew. The capacity of the jail is 1,700, but curfew violators and looters fill it to 2,200. Its maximum capacity is 2.500. • 6:14 p.m.—Pres. Lyndon Johnson orders 1,900 Army soldiers into Baltimore. • 7:30 p.m.—By this time, the conflict has spread across the city, especially to the west, with 95 percent of the offenders estimated to be teenagers. In the 2000 block of Edmondson Ave., looting of clothing stores takes place, and 50 are arrested on Baltimore St. from Pine St. west. • 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.—Looting peaks, with 128 incidents logged. Baltimore then becomes relatively quiet. West Baltimore hospitals treat fewer patients. Scattered looting is reported at Baltimore and Pine streets. From the 900 to the 1200 block of W. Baltimore St., stolen taxi cabs are used to transport stolen goods. In the first block of N. Caroline St., a pawn shop owner is ordered by police to hand over all his store’s shotguns. Officers carry them to the Pikesville Armory. It appears that every store between Mt. Royal Ave. and Monroe St. on North Ave. has been hit. At North and Baddish, fires are reported. Guardsmen make a sweep through the east side. Gov. Agnew extends the curfew to Baltimore County. As the east side calms, the west explodes into a what is described as a “liquor crazed frenzy of looting and carousing.” • 8:30 p.m.—Gov. Agnew appears on television to explain what he has been doing and to announce a curfew. • Evening—A service is set for Monday at Loyola. Eastern High School is repurposed as a refugee center. Looting takes place at Guilford Ave. and Lanvale St. and on Harford Ave. from Federal St. to North Ave. Two liquor stores in the 800 and 900 blocks of Caroline St. are burned. At Laurens and Stricker, a liquor store is destroyed by fire. Problems are reported on Pennsylvania Ave. running past the 2000 block of Edmonson Ave. A black church in Catonsville is burned. Drunken looters are seen on the east side from Broadway to Gay. Pillaging takes place on Edmondson Ave. Looting and arson continue for four hours after curfew. The city jail remains filled beyond capacity. Three municipal courts are severely overcrowded. A race riot by 400 black prisoners breaks out at the Maryland Training Center. In the 900 block of Whitelock, rioting is reported. The riot area comprises 1,000 square blocks, bounded roughly by 23rd St. on the north, Poplar Grove St. on the west, Baltimore St. on the south and Broadway on the east. In the 1800 block of Greenmount Ave., there is a looting of a liquor store. At Sixth and Church
streets in Brooklyn Heights there is looting. At North and Linden, a crowd of 150 people witness three stores and several vacant buildings burn. Fire is reported at Falls Road and 41st St. A grocery store is burned at Federal and Barclay. At Guilford and 21st St., looting is reported. Along Gilmore from Baltimore St. to Franklin St., a string of discount drug and liquor stores is burglarized. Three stores are looted on Edmondson, and another six stores on Edmondson and Payson. A crowd of 300 gathers in the 2400 block of Barclay St. At 21st and Greenmount Ave. there is looting, as well as on North and Linden. Monument and Bond sees two fires. At Bond and Madison, a liquor store is looted and burned. The block between 1700 and 2200 Monument is hard hit, with at least 15 stores heavily damaged. On N. Broadway a home is burned, while in the 1800 block of Harford Ave. fires are set in trash cans. Laurens, Riggs and Stricker, all side streets of Pennsylvania, are consumed by looting. Pennsylvania Ave. takes on the appearance of a “ghost town” according to published reports. At Baker St. and Fulton there is looting. Also, reports of looting in Baltimore St. stores from Pine St. to the west are investigated. In the 2000 block of Edmondson Ave. and in the 900 and 1200 block of W. Baltimore, heavy looting is reported. Police say that it appears that nearly every store between Mt. Royal Ave. and Monroe St. on North Ave. was hit. Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties aid firemen in Baltimore city with 75 men. • Night—a shooting is reported at Lennox and Callow, and also at Franklin and Warwick Ave. At Division and Wilson, two fires break out. In the 1300 block of Edmondson Ave., a pawn shop is looted and 73 rifles are stolen. In the 4800 block of Edmondson Ave., a service station is looted. • 10 p.m.— A drug and liquor store at Windsor Mill Rd. and Chelsea St. is looted repeatedly in the two hours leading up to midnight. The Bolton Hill Shopping Center is ransacked at McMechen St. Special Municipal Courts convenes—more than 1,800 face charges of curfew violation or possession of stolen property. • 10:15 p.m.—The Maryland National Guard is federalized and Gen. York is placed in command of all military units deployed in the riot area. • 11 p.m.—Brigade of federal troops moves from Druid Lake to the 5th Regiment Armory. Four looters are arrested at Laurens and Stricker. Police confiscate a loaded pistol from a man at Monroe St. and Wilkens Ave. • 11:45 p.m.—The Fire Department refuses ambulance service for non-emergency sick cases. • Summary: Fires, looting large-scale disorderly crowds. Sunday’s police reports include 400 episodes of looting, for a two-day total of 600. A 40-block swath of the east and west mid sections of the city have been impacted by rioting. More than 700 businesses have been robbed. Looting increases, while fires decrease from Saturday. The riot area comprises 1,000 square blocks, bounded roughly by 25th St. on the north, Poplar Grove St. on the west, Baltimore St. on the south, and Broadway on the east. For the first time since railroad strikes in the 1870s, Baltimore is patrolled by federal troops. By evening, the force equals more than 9,000 soldiers. There are 300 injured, 420 fires, 550 cases of looting, and 1,350 arrested. A hit-and-run pattern of looting means that there are few clashes between looters and troops. Amidst the damage in riot areas, streets are filled with broken glass.
Monday, April 8, 1968 • Midnight—By this point, six sniper incidents have been reported: Gilmore and Baker, the 1600 block of Calvert, Lombard and Lloyd, Monroe and Baltimore, Biddle and Argyle, and the 2900 block of The Alameda. Many more fires break out, at Frederick Road and Willard St., in the 1200 block of Central Ave., on Franklin St., and Allendale Road. Crowds gather to watch. On North and Patterson Park, the 100 block of E. Lanvale St., the 2100 block of Normandy Ave., the first block of N. Hilton St., the 600 block of Mt. Holly St., there is looting and burning of grocery and liquor stores. In the 800 block of W. Baltimore St., another furniture store is looted. A jewelry store on Eastern is looted. A tavern on Longwood St. at Westwood is looted. • After midnight—2200 block North Calvert St., a report of trouble. In the 200 block of E. Preston, a food market is broken into. Rioting reported near the Murphy Homes at Myrtle Ave. and Hoffman. In the 2100 block of Calvert St., a fire breaks out. In the 1600 block of Warwick Road a house is burned. A store is looted and burned in the 2300 block of Hollins Ferry Road. In the 3800 block of Clifton Ave. looters are seen. There is a looting in the 1800 block of Linden Ave., and another on Division St. near Lanvale. • 1 a.m.—Lootings reported since midnight: 14, as opposed to 128 between 8 and 9 p.m. • 1:30 a.m.—”Curfew seems to be having an effect, city is generally under control.”—Gen. York. The hot spot area of the night is in the Western district, where fires and looting are reported in an area bounded by Lake Drive and Gwynns Falls Pkwy on the north, Poplar Grove St. on the west, Baltimore St. on the south, and Green St. on the east. • Dawn—Three house fires are reported, several lootings, and a two alarm fire in a liquor store at Federal St. and Milton Ave. • 7:40 a.m.—A looter is shot in an alley behind the 800 block of N. Aisquith St. He is chased in the 800 block of Gay St. from a liquor store. • 8:50 a.m.—A bomb is found in the 2700 block of N. Charles St. The area is evacuated. • 9 a.m.—By this point, police report that looting has picked up in the Western District and is causing more devastation than was seen on the east side, which was already damaged by mobs. Once police leave an area, looters swoop in and start anew. Gangs are rumored to be using walkie-talkies to figure out where police and troops are. Downtown business area is patrolled by National Guard and members of the 18th Airborne Corps. • Morning— A “whirlwind tour” is taken by the mayor, who is accompanied by Sen. Joseph Tydings. All schools, most businesses, and almost all offices in the city are closed. Another 1,900 Army troops are called into Baltimore. Rioting spills out from “Negro Slums east and west of Downtown area along main streets in all directions,” according to one newspaper headline. “For the first time, unruly groups of whites and blacks confronted each other in the streets and posed the threat of race rioting,” a news account reports. Since Saturday at 5:30 p.m., 510 have been injured, more than 900 fires reported, more than 1,700 cases of looting called in, and more than 3,450 blacks arrested. A 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew is ordered again. Gen. York, the mayor and Pomerleau spend more than two hours traveling through the city. Fremont St. along Edmondson Ave. reports looting. • Early afternoon—Tear gas is used to disperse a crowd of 300 youths who smashed into a grocery at North Ave. and Chester St., near the worst area of destruction on Saturday night. In West Baltimore, soldiers with bayonets block the intersection of Fulton Ave. and Baker St. Crowds throw bricks and bottles at passing cars. The 400 blocks on the west side, from North Ave. south to Pratt St., from Gwynns Falls Pkwy. to Fulton Ave., are a “no man’s land.” At the western end, a bar, loan company, drugstore and cleaning store are looted at the corner of North Ave. and Pulaski St. Fires in the 2700 block of Pennsylvania consume five stores and the apartments above. In the first block of N. Liberty St. a “jitterbug band” breaks windows. Cars are pelted at Monroe and W. Baltimore streets, and at Smallwood and W. Baltimore St. Police are scarce in the area below North Ave. Many people loot at will along Monroe St. The 1300-1500 blocks of Penn Ave. are destroyed, and the 1200 block contains only a few intact stores. In the 900 block of Pennsylvania Ave., looters take guns. At Edmondson Village Shopping Center, three stores have shattered windows. Looting steps up and the west side’s first major fires begin shortly before noon. After noon a band of 75 youths armed with clubs and rocks march down Pratt and Frederick to the Westside shopping center. Four policemen turn them back. • Noon—Fires start up again on the east side, consuming a liquor store at Milton Ave. and Federal St., a warehouse at Federal and Holbrook, and stores at Harford Ave. and Lanvale. • Mid afternoon—Telephone exchanges are jammed. Edmondson Ave., from Fremont all the way west to the shopping center, has been scourged by looters; a few stores are burned, but almost all are looted and vandalized. In the 500 block of Roberts St., soldiers and policemen confront a mob with torches. After noon, looting calls come into headquarters at a rate of one per minute. A group of 40 Guardsmen set up a roadblock at Penn. Ave. and Franklin St. They block westbound traffic on U.S. 40. In the 1000 block of W. Baltimore St., a surplus store is hit by a multi-alarm fire. Four blocks west, there are still more fires. A major warehouse fire in the 500 block of Wilson St. is reported. Another 1,900 federal troops move into Baltimore in the afternoon, setting up field headquarters at the zoo. • 2 p.m.—A large crowd of whites forms on the east side of the roadway near Perkins Homes, a southeast Baltimore housing project, shouting and taunting. As whites enter these predominantly black projects, Guardsmen arrive, forcing whites east of Broadway and blacks west to create a three-block buffer zone. Whites exchange insults with black youths, bottles and bricks are thrown, four cars driven by blacks are damaged by rocks. • 2.30 p.m.—A grocery store and home at 1700 Madison Ave., looted Sunday night, are burned. • 3 p.m.—In the 3400-4000 blocks of Edmondson Ave., hundreds of people are on the street. About 10 stores are looted. In the 3500 block of Edmondson Ave., a sandwich shop is broken into. There is no arson in this area near the city line. • Before 3 p.m.—More than 50 Guardsmen stand a block away as a store at Fulton Ave. and Baker St. is looted. • 3 p.m.—Until 3:45 p.m. at Pratt and Pulaski, 250 whites gather and shout “white power,” blocking North Ave. On Frederick Ave., a smaller crowd of blacks gathers. Police in general keep the crowds apart. Around that time, a block away at McHenry and Payson, a fight breaks out between several whites and two blacks. An officer arrives and prevents serious violence by firing into the air. Two white youths are arrested. A black driver ducking from rocks thrown by whites loses control of his car and causes a three-car collision. • 4 p.m.—In the 1400 block Druid Hill Ave., more looting and burning. But there is a decrease in violence immediately after curfew.
• Late afternoon—People hoard food because of curfews and fear. A shooting at 1200 block St. James St. is reported, following more looting in the 800 block of N. Gay. The 1000 block of Lombard St. finds more looting. In the 1000 block of Druid Hill, a surplus store is burned. Hospitals on the west side ask for police protection. At York Road and Woodbourne Ave., a window is smashed by a gang of roving youths. There is looting in the 500 block of Washington Blvd. In the Lower Broadway area, a crowd gathers and heads towards stores in Forest Park, where rioters do damage. In the 2900 block of Garrison Blvd., a store emblazoned with a “Soul Brother” sign is looted. At Garrison and Windsor Mill Road, drug store windows are smashed. A store is looted in the 4600 block of Park Heights Ave. Taverns along Harford Rd. opposite Clifton Park are looted by north-going looters from the east side. In the 2600 block of Harford Road, a bar that refused to serve blacks is looted. In the 100 block of E. Lafayette Ave., another bar is looted. Looting spreads out of poor areas into middle-class shopping centers serving racially mixed neighborhoods. At Fulton Ave. and Baker St., a crowd hurls bricks and bottles at cars. • Late afternoon—Tensions rise between whites and blacks in the South Broadway area and along W. Pratt St. After one man objects to being frisked, police begin to use mace to subdue uncooperative curfew violators. Some cars are covered in signs that say “Soul Brother” or “Black Brother,” mostly driven by blacks with headlights on as a funeral solute to King. Many also have a black rag tied on the antenna in solidarity. Some fire trucks begin responding to blazes with armed soldiers aboard. Roadblocks are set up at downtown intersections, and motorists are forced to turn back. • Evening—Sporadic fires burn throughout the night, many between 10 p.m. and midnight and concentrated in a single square mile bounded by North Ave., Preston St., Harford Road and Milton St. Teenagers roam the streets, throwing rocks and bricks at cars driven by whites along Monroe near Franklin and on E. Baltimore St. near Smallwood. Looting takes place on Monroe St. below Franklin, where witnesses describe the looters as “middle aged.” The mood of the rioters has grown worse. Pratt and Frederick represent a line of demarcation. Gov. Agnew releases a statement on the control of city’s looting. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture sends in trucks with nonperishable food at night. Taxis are taken off the streets. Another 800 persons are arrested and taken to the Civic Center, in addition to 3,300 prisoners warehoused at the city jail during the night. Sniper fire breaks out at night for the first time since disturbances began on Saturday. A shooting at Calvert and Lanvale is reported. Some looting is seen at Reisterstown Road and Edmondson Ave. Seven in Pikesville are arrested for violating the curfew. • 8 p.m.—An outbreak of sniper activity continues until 1 a.m. Looters and fire bombers strike hard in West Baltimore. Rioting spills up Harford Road as far as Clifton Park and all the way out to Edmondson Village Shopping Center. • 8:30 p.m.—Some city policemen are pinned down behind cars by two or three snipers firing from upper floors of the Flag House housing project in the 1000 block of E. Lombard St. They are then attacked by hurled glass bottles. Minutes later, fire erupts across the street. Firemen respond but pull back when sniper fire continues. The fire is centered at 1017 E. Lombard St. and burns Smelkinson’s Dairy, Attman’s Deli, a sandwich shop, and another store next to it. Guardsmen in the 1200 block of N. Charles find a man with a rifle. • 9 p.m.—At Calvert and Lanvale streets, sniper fire pins police as they try to move a truckload of curfew violators. A white man is shot at the same time. Three men are arrested, but none were snipers, the injured man is taken to the hospital in serious condition. Guardsmen shoot back at people throwing stones and bottles and shooting in housing projects. • 10 p.m.—No new fires are fought between 9:30 p.m. and this point. Looting is seen in the 2400 block of Hollins Ferry Road at a grocery store. • 10:15 p.m.—Four reports of fire from the 1000 to the 1100 block of E. Lombard. • 10:30 p.m.—Reports of sniper fire in the 4000 block Edmondson Ave. Sniper activity also at Baltimore and Monroe streets. A man is seized in the 600 block N. Carey St. after he pointed a gun at a soldier. A firebomb attack is rumored in the Guilford area. • Night—Firebombs spread across North Ave. to Forest Park directly below Druid Hill Lake, up Harford Road to Clifton Park, and west along U.S. 40 to Edmondson Village and south to W. Baltimore St. At 705 Whitelock St. an auto garage is burned and a black-owned barber shop is damaged. In the 2300 block of Callow Ave., a drugstore is vandalized and looted. Looting in the 900 block of Whitelock St. is reported, and troops cordon off the area. In the 2200 block of Fulton Ave., a few more stores burn. A drug company in the 700 block of Whitelock St. is burned. A shooting reported in the 100 block of S. Exeter St. forces city firefighters to abandon attempts to put out a raging fire in Smelkinson’s dairy store in the 1000 block of E. Lombard. Firemen refuse to fight the fire until the sniper is located. Guardsmen enter projects in attempt to find the sniper. • 11 p.m.—Police struggle with a fire hydrant after firefighters leave for fear of snipers. Fire fighting begins again. Communications rooms cool down around this time. • 11:10 p.m.—Fire truck returns, but the buildings are lost. • Night—At least 110 communities across the country are hit by post-assassination violence, with approximately 29 percent of all arrests made in Baltimore. Police guard hub corners of Calvert and Fayette, Baltimore and South streets, and Calvert and Baltimore. Three food distribution centers open at Eden and Ashland, North Ave. and Barclay St., and North and Pennsylvania. Phone booth service is out in riot areas. Two white men are shot during an alleged sacking of a small grocery in the 100 block of E. Lanvale St. Provident and Franklin Square hospitals are protected by guards. • Summary: By this date, 2100 firemen have fought 900 fires in three days. During this day alone, 332 fires are fought, and 466 arrests are made. Fewer than 40 persons by Monday are injured seriously enough to warrant admission to the hospital. The worst of the rioting appears to be taking place on the west side. As of this day, Hopkins Hospital reports 74 lacerations, 12 gunshot wounds, one tear gas inhalation, three fractures, four stabbings, one bout of hysteria and two burnings resulting in death. Elsewhere, the Pope plans a statement on racism. Scavengers and looters are separated into two charging categories by the Army. Gov. Agnew releases a proclamation allowing banks to remain closed this day if the managers find it necessary. The wave of looting appears to go from liquor stores, to electrical appliance stores, then food stores, followed by pawn shops for firearms, then jewelry stores and loan shops for money and valuables. Most of the devastation is in the Western District from Druid Hill Park along Pennsylvania Ave. and Fulton Ave., and in the Northeastern District along Greenmount Ave. The total complement of troops in the city is 10,848. The rioting appears to decline at normal meal times. A graph by police statisticians shows that most riot activity occurs in the city’s high crime areas. Baltimore becomes the first city to plot this information as the riots are going on. Other notables: There were seven reports of snipers after the 4 p.m. curfew, with sniper fire beginning in earnest after announcements were made about the situation being under control. More gunfire is heard at Baker and Gilmore, at Exeter and Monroe and Fairmount Ave.
Tuesday, April 9, 1968 • Basic Information: The arrest total since 6 p.m. Saturday stands at 4,424. The number of injured reaches 600 shortly before dawn. Since midnight, there have been 76 lootings and 10 fires. The Civic Center holds an overflow 800 prisoners. To date, there have been six deaths, 1,075 lootings, and 1,032 fires. • Midnight—Fresh gunfire at Flag House Housing Project draws police back. More sniper shots reported by police. • 2 a.m.—Guardsmen protect firefighters. • 3 a.m.—A 70-year-old man becomes the sixth victim of the riots, dying of burns in an apartment fire above a grocery store which was looted and burned in the 400 block Myrtle Avenue. • 7 a.m.—The curfew is lifted, and motorists from outside the city are allowed in. Looting begins again, with 10 stores hit. Another two are burned. • 8:30 a.m.—Tear gas used on rioters. • 9 a.m.—Several fires are reported on the east side, but the west side is quiet. • 9:30 a.m.—Sniper fire hits a car in the 1200 block of Aisquith Street. Second use of tear gas in an hour at Dukeland St. and Lafayette Ave. • Morning—A homemade bomb is found in an apartment in the 2700 block of N. Charles St. At Gilmore and Baker streets, six drunk men disturb the peace at a food distribution center. Pennsylvania and Lafayette show more looting. Three dwellings at Pennsylvania Ave. and McMechen St. are destroyed. A drugstore at North and Greenmount and a liquor store at Wolfe and Chase streets also are ruined. Many businesses reopen along with remaining public schools. Some area taverns open, but are ordered to stay closed until further notice. Troops are assigned to ride on fire trucks to protect firefighters. King’s funeral service is held in Atlanta. At Lexington and Gillmor, some apartments are burned. Downtown stores reopen. Sporadic looting takes place on the west side. City and insurance company officials begin touring the damage. • 9:30 a.m.—A sniper on Aisquith St. sends a bullet into a car. • Midmorning—The Army begins a citywide attempt to prevent further looting by boarding up partially plundered stores and exploding a bomb of CS gas inside. They start along the 2000 block of Edmondson Avenue. Gen. York takes a walking tour of the Western District. Disorderly crowds are reported in the 200 block of Edmondson Ave. and at Dukeland St. and Edmondson Ave. • 10 a.m.—More sniper fire at Aisquith and Curtain streets. Dozens of police raids take place on this morning. • 11 a.m.—Between 10 a.m. and this point, when King’s funeral begins, 13 lootings and one fire are reported, with 49 arrests. • Noon—Fire burns a Laundromat and clothing store. • 2 p.m.—At Harford and Lafayette a saloon is looted and one man arrested. Armed federal troops break up a peace meeting of 200 in Lafayette Square (even though they had approval from city police); angry crowds scatter and regroup at Mosher Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. • Afternoon—The Baltimore Orioles home opener against the Oakland Athletics is postponed. • 2:10 p.m.—A liquor store is burned at Chase and Wolfe. • 3:10 p.m.—Sniper activity is reported at a fire at Fayette and Pulaski. • 4 p.m.—At Monroe and Pratt, a crowd of white youths gather restlessly. • 4:20 p.m.—A black family driving by the area mentioned above is stoned. The driver gets out of the car and is jumped by the mob. Another group jumps on the car and kicks in the hood and windows. A tall white man runs past and fires three shots into the car at the children, then runs south and drops a pistol. A few policemen arrive to reinforce a few Guardsmen who are pushing back the white crowd. The car leaves for the hospital. The crowd begins jeering and surges against policemen. Two men and one woman are arrested. • 5 p.m.—The two men and woman are booked. Between 4 p.m. and this time, 30 store lootings and five fire bombings are called in to police. • 6 p.m.—Between 5 and 6 p.m., trouble subsides. Looters take to the streets again shortly after that, raiding 18 stores and lighting nine 9 fires. • 8 p.m.—In the first hour of the curfew, reports of trouble continue to reach police, though the number is dropping. • 11 p.m.—Sharp drop in looting and fires between 9 and this point. Only three reports of looting and two fires, down from 194 lootings and 26 fires at the same time on Sunday, and 53 lootings and eight fires on Monday. • Night—Troops ordered to tuck away bayonets, a sign of easing tension. But there is growing restiveness in white neighborhoods bordering inner city black areas, especially on the west side. Plans are announced for at least one more night of curfew. A list of affected merchants will be compiled, and taxpayers will be allowed to file after the April 15 deadline without penalty. Scarcities of milk and gasoline develop during the day. On W. Baltimore St., in the block between Mount St. and Fulton Ave., police hear shots from a row house on Longwood near North Ave. Lethargic gangs gather at Broadway and Gay. As of this point, 50 policemen and 10 firefighters have been hurt in the riots, none critically. A number of black community leaders patrol trouble spots with plainclothes black policemen during the curfew. A crowd regroups, chanting “That’s enough, baby.” More than 176 arrests are made after the curfew goes into effect at 7 p.m. Mace is used in a store in the 1300 block of Pennsylvania Ave., one of the hardest hit areas of the city. Nonviolent civil rights organizations send sound trucks through the riot areas urging residents to remain in their homes. Looting takes place on Division St. In the 1700 block of Madison Avenue, arson is reported. In the 1400 block of Presstman St., there is a looting. A liquor store at Presstman and N. Calhoun streets is robbed. Within an hour of Mayor D’Allesandro’s vote of confidence in the city, 48 are arrested, 19 lootings reported and three new fires set. • Evening—Curfew is relaxed, with the hours set from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. for Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning. • Summary: Riot losses are estimated at $10 million, enough to classify Baltimore as a catastrophe area—although it is learned that federal disaster relief does not cover riots and civil disorder. There are 1,150 fires, 1,150 lootings and nearly 5,000 arrests since the riots’ beginning. Lootings drop to less than 10 an hour during the night. More than 80 percent of those booked since Saturday are tried. Arrests drop from 62 between 4 and 5 p.m. to 21 in the next hour, lootings from 30 to nine and fires from five to one. The east side’s center of violence is a rectangular section bounded by North Ave. on the north, Monument St. on the south, Guilford Ave. on the west and Washington St. on the east. The west side’s center of violence is a triangular area bounded on the south by Mulberry St., on the east by Monroe St., and on the west by Pennsylvania and Fremont. Fires in other areas are sporadic. By this point, large sections of Federal, Gay, Monument, Aisquith, and Pennsylvania above Biddle St. have been cleaned out. Of the 600 treated in hospitals since Saturday, only 19 had injuries serious enough to require admission. Pupil absences of more than 50 percent are reported in elementary schools and 50 percent in secondary schools, with many teacher absences. The fire department received five bomb threats, four in city schools. All are false. Hundreds of fires are reported. Scattered reports of gunfire and snipers were handled by police. A lot of phones have no dial tone, caused by the massive numbers of people reporting on the riots or telling others they are safe or calling for a phone repairman during the disturbances. Cooperation between police and the Army is said to be improved. A check of sporting goods and gun stores in the county reveals that residents were purchasing firearms and ammunition at an above-average rate on the previous Friday and Saturday as the threat of rioting in Baltimore mounted.
Wednesday, April 10, 1968 • 1:20 a.m.—Sniper fire in the 1400 block of E. Oliver St. Sniper not found but an arrest is made. • Morning—Nearly 2,000 workers are moved into East Baltimore to clean up and board up damaged buildings. A new curfew is announced. • 11 a.m.—D’Alessandro announces that he believes that Baltimore’s riot was organized and planned in advance. • Noon—All banks and all seven of the city’s markets (most in riot areas) are open. The only market that is damaged is Broadway, by a small fire. • Afternoon—Sightseers take the place of street gangs. Workers clean up debris from lootings and fires on the west side. • 4 p.m.— Gov. Agnew announces that conditions are improved, enough to possibly modify or remove entirely the ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages in the city and five counties • 8 p.m.—Fires are limited to a few vacant houses and previously looted stores, most of them in or near the west side. Reports label it “One last little fling.” • 10:15 p.m.—Governor’s spokesman announces that the statement on liquor sales still stands. • Night—Police exchange gunfire with suspected snipers on a roof in the 600 block of W. Lanvale St. Tear gas is used to disperse crowds in the area. A fire is reported on Fayette St. east of Broadway. • Summary: Arrests from midnight to 1 p.m. number 105, bringing the total to 5,316. Of that number, 175 curfew cases are tried. Juvenile court cases are postponed to Monday. There are only 10 new lootings on this day. The total number of lootings is 1,214. Two new fires bring the total to 1,208. Aid from the state insurance commission is made available at the Enoch Pratt Library. Most of damage is in the city’s “poverty belt,” officials report. Student attendance rises but remains below normal. Plans are announced for a walk of penance on Saturday by a white interfaith group. Courts process the last of more than 5,300 criminal cases. The 11,000 Army and National Guard troops remain in Baltimore to assure that relative peace is kept. This day also marks the end of marathon duty hours for troops, policemen, and firefighters. Lootings are minor, but the total edges toward 2,000. There is far less crime in daylight hours than usual. Downtown shopping is open for holiday gift buying until 9 p.m., and some shopkeepers along Pennsylvania Ave. and Gay St. are open. Merchants in the 2100-2200 blocks of Monument St. report business is almost back to normal. Gov. Agnew asks in telegrams to Pres. Johnson and the Maryland Congressional delegation that quick action be taken to bring damage caused by riots within the terms of federal disaster relief. Some 1,000 to 1,500 business owners are expected to meet at the Pikesville fire hall to discuss ways of getting help and of protecting against future disturbances.
Thursday, April 11, 1968 • Morning—50 trucks and 200 men move out to begin boarding up looted and burned out buildings. • 9 a.m.—Prohibition on selling containers of flammable materials is lifted. • Noon—Fire reported on Fayette east of Broadway. The ban on liquor sales is off, riot curfew lifted, and gasoline in containers rule is in effect. Prohibition of firearms and explosive sales remain in place. • Afternoon—Fire in the 1600 block of Ingleside Ave. in a carryout shop. This episode is just over the county line. • Summary: Repairs and assessments continue.
Friday, April 12, 1968 • Morning—Some federal troops begin to move out of Baltimore following a declaration from Gen. Robert H. York that order has been restored to the city. • 2 p.m.—Gov. Agnew says he is disappointed with the black community’s leadership. •2:30 a.m.—Since 8 p.m. Friday, four outbreaks of violence have occurred: three fires and a shooting. • Summary: Insurers estimate Baltimore losses at $8-10 million. Chicago reports losses of $15 million. During four days of looting, 288 liquor-related establishments were burned or looted, and 190 food stores vandalized. About 500 of more than 5,700 persons arrested remain to be tried on various charges, mostly for curfew violations. The loss of life totals six—three by fire, one in an auto accident, and two of gunshot wounds in suspected lootings. Only one person is killed by a policeman. Baltimore accounts for a quarter of all national arrests and about a seventh of all post-assassination riot deaths.
Saturday, April 13, 1968 • 9 a.m.—Deadline for federal troops to clear out of the 5th Regiment Armory. • Summary: About 5,700 National Guardsmen remain to patrol the streets. There is an announcement that the riots will cause Baltimore to lose $345,000 in tax revenues.COPYRIGHT / USAGE Material on this site may be quoted or reproduced for personal and educational purposes without prior permission, provided appropriate credit is given. Any commercial use of this material is prohibited without prior permission from The Special Collections Department – Langsdale Library, University of Baltimore. Commercial requests for use of the transcript or related documentation must be submitted in writing to the address below.
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