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Baltimore Cleans Up After Night Of Looting, Riots

Rubble, a solitary elevator shaft are all that are left of the nearly-complete Mary Harvin Center in Broadway East. The corner store next door was also damaged by the fire.
Rubble, a solitary elevator shaft are all that are left of the nearly-complete Mary Harvin Center in Broadway East. The corner store next door was also damaged by the fire.
Rubble, a solitary elevator shaft are all that are left of the nearly-complete Mary Harvin Center in Broadway East. The corner store next door was also damaged by the fire.
Credit Christopher Connelly/WYPR
Rubble, a solitary elevator shaft are all that are left of the nearly-complete Mary Harvin Center in Broadway East. The corner store next door was also damaged by the fire.

Across Baltimore on Tuesday, volunteers and city workers fanned out to clean up damage caused by looters and riots last night after the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died from injuries suffered in police custody.

City workers cleaned up the sidewalk and restored fences around what was to have been a senior center in the Broadway East neighborhood in East Baltimore. The remains building smoldered as the workers tossed charred concrete blocks back onto the building site. All that’s left standing is a single elevator shaft. The red brick corner store right next door is also scorched, the roof and back wall demolished.

“Nothing remains of that store, this historic building was here throughout my whole entire childhood,” said Eric Booker, president of the East Broadway community association. He’s worked with the southern Baptist church across the street for 8 years to get the Mary Harvin Center built. The project was thirty days ahead of schedule, he said, 80 percent complete until it burned to the ground overnight.

Booker says the looting and rioting that started on the west side of Baltimore and spread throughout the city is wrong. But he isn’t surprised. He says Broadway East and many other neighborhoods in Baltimore share the same story: Economic disinvestment, lack of jobs, tense relations with police.

“How many years does it take before this happens? And we just got to this frustration point,” he said.

Antonio Jones lives nearby, and says he feels harassed by Baltimore Police Department. Not all cops are bad, he said, but he says many police officers who patrol his neighborhood

“It’s like an everyday thing,” Jones said. “You can’t even walk to the store without a police running down on you wanting to search you.”

Jones also says people need jobs. He says if people know there’s a paycheck coming – that they have opportunities -- they might think twice before turning out to riot and loot stores. Jones is also looking for a job. Just last week, he put in an application to help build the senior center. Case in point, he says – sometimes it feels impossible to get ahead. 

Copyright 2015 WYPR - 88.1 FM Baltimore

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