Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) alleged Sunday that many rioters in Baltimore the previous night were from “out of town,” noting that he was amid crowds in the area.
A protest over the death of Freddie Gray, a black 25-year-old, in police custody turned violent as some went on a rampage as darkness fell, seen smashing windows and throwing objects at police.
“I’ve gotta give it to the citizens of Baltimore. I was there all day, and it was very peaceful all day,” Cummings said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“At the end, there were a few people that said, ‘We’re gonna turn this city down, we’re gonna close it down.’ And the next thing you know we had a few people – mainly from out of town – to come and to start beating up on police cars and throwing all kinds of projectiles,” Cummings alleged.
At least a dozen people were arrested, according to The Associated Press. Police also kept Baltimore Orioles fans inside the ballpark as they cleared an area outside, which Cummings called a “smart idea.”
“This whole police community relations situation, Bob, is the civil rights cause for this generation, no doubt about it,” Cummings told host Bob Schieffer on Sunday.
Cummings noted that the Maryland delegation in Congress had asked for the Department of Justice to conduct a civil rights investigation into the death of Gray.
“We’ve got to take this department apart and try to figure out what is wrong and what is right,” he said, referring to local police.