BALTIMORE - A line of police behind riot shields hurled smoke grenades and fired pepper balls at dozens of protesters Tuesday night to enforce a citywide curfew, imposed after the worst outbreak of rioting in Baltimore since 1968.
Demonstrators threw bottles at police, and picked up the smoke grenades and hurled them back at officers. No immediate arrests or serious injuries were reported.
The clash came after a day of high tension but relative peace in Baltimore, as thousands of police officers and National Guardsmen poured into the city to prevent another round of rioting like the one that rocked the city on Monday.
Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston traveled to Baltimore with leaders from the metro area helping to keep the protests peaceful.
City leaders have said throughout the day Tuesday they will not tolerate another night of violence.
Huddleston is with DeKalb County Public Safety Director Dr. Cedric Alexander. As soon as they arrived in downtown Baltimore, so did a group of protestors.
The National Guard and mounted police immediately surrounded them as they climbed a monument and thrust their fist in the air, chanting black lives matter.
In the middle of the chaos, Alexander went to work.
Alexander is in Baltimore as president of NOBLE, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
He's keeping an eye on protesters and talking with community leaders like Tessa Hill-Haston, president of the Baltimore NAACP.
"We still have store and neighborhoods that have never come back since Martin Luther King's day of assassination," Hill-Haston said.
Alexander also talked with current and former Baltimore police officers who where there when rioters broke windows and burned buildings. They appreciate having Alexander's calm presence.
"i think it's greatly appreciate it, i think every little bit helps, every positive effort helps," said Former Baltimore Police Officer Leon Taylor
"I’m going to try and take as much away from here as I can and make use of it, back in my community as well as across the county as well too," Alexander said.
Maryland's governor said 2,000 Guardsmen and 1,000 law officers would be in place overnight.
"This combined force will not tolerate violence or looting," Gov. Larry Hogan warned.
The racially charged violence on Monday by set off by the case of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of a spinal-cord injury under mysterious circumstances while in police custody.
In a measure of how tense things were on Tuesday, Baltimore was under a citywide 10 p.m.-to-5 a.m. emergency curfew. All public schools were closed. And the Baltimore Orioles canceled Tuesday night's game at Camden Yards and — in what may be a first in baseball's 145-year history — announced that Wednesday's game will be closed to the public.
The streets were largely calm all day and into the evening, with only a few scattered arrests.
As the 10 p.m. curfew went into effect, protesters remained in the street in the city's Penn North section near where a CVS pharmacy was looted. Standing shoulder to shoulder, police in helmets and riot shields began advancing toward the demonstrators in an effort to push them back. Some protesters lay in the street or hurled bottles toward the police. Then police used pepper balls and smoke.
Around the same time and in a different neighborhood, police tweeted that they were making arrests in South Baltimore after people started attacking officers with rocks and bricks. At least one officer was reported injured.
Monday's looting, arson and rock- and bottle-throwing by mostly black rioters broke out just hours after Gray's funeral. It was the worst such violence in the U.S. since the unrest that erupted last year over the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black 18-year-old shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
Political leaders and residents called the violence a tragedy for the city and lamented the damage done by the rioters to their own neighborhoods.
"I had officers come up to me and say, 'I was born and raised in this city. This makes me cry,'" Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said.
Haywood McMorris, manager of the wrecked CVS store, said the destruction didn't make sense: "We work here, man. This is where we stand, and this is where people actually make a living."
But the rioting also brought out a sense of civic pride and responsibility in many Baltimore residents, with hundreds of volunteers turning out to sweep the streets of glass and other debris with brooms and trash bags donated by hardware stores.
Blanca Tapahuasco brought her three sons, ages 2 to 8, from another part of the city to help clean up the brick-and-pavement courtyard outside the looted CVS.
"We're helping the neighborhood build back up," she said. "This is an encouragement to them to know the rest of the city is not just looking on and wondering what to do."
The crisis marks the first time the National Guard has been called out to deal with unrest in Baltimore since 1968, when some of the same neighborhoods that rose up this week burned for days after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. At least six people died then, and some neighborhoods still bear the scars.
Jascy Jones of Baltimore said the sight of National Guardsmen on the street gave her a "very eerie feeling."
"It brought a tear to my eye. Seeing it doesn't feel like the city that I love," she said. "I am glad they're here, but it's hard to watch."