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Cardin: Exercise 1st Amendment rights peacefully

Posted: 5:02 PM, Dec 16, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-16 22:13:32Z
Sen. Ben Cardin issued a statement following the mistrial in the William Porter trial, urging peace and unity. 
 
 
 
Here's the full statement: 
 
The death of Freddie Gray was a tragedy that fueled a national conversation about the need for equal justice and expanded opportunities in the African-American community.  We cannot bring Freddie Gray back to his family, but we as a community can work together to repair and rebuild the trust between our police and the neighborhoods they are sworn to protect and serve.
 
As the trials related to Freddie Gray's death continue, let us join together to honor his memory by raising our voices in the name of peace and unity. We must push forward in the fight to make historic changes in our criminal justice system and simultaneously work to bring more economic development and economic opportunities to all corners of our city. 
 
I urge residents to exercise their First Amendment rights peacefully. As this process unfolds, let us reject violence, vandalism or other actions that might hurt our communities and local businesses. I am committed to working closely with all of our federal partners to bring Baltimore the diverse resources it needs to fully mend the divisions in the city and ensure equal justice under the law and real opportunity for all its residents.

Public officials Wednesday afternoon released a chorus of statements, urging residents to remain calm. 

"With the eyes of the world on Baltimore City, we must ensure that any protests that take place are peaceful, and we must ensure that the process of healing our community continues," U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, said in a statement. "We must continue to channel our emotions into strong, positive change, so that, as a city, we truly see our young men of color before it is too late. This is the road to more equal justice in our community."
 
Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott said he expects protests, and supports anyone who wants to exercise their right. 

 

"This trial and those that will follow are a part of a process that is a opportunity for Baltimore to heal and show the world how a community overcome challenges," Scott said. "Many have been committed to working for change on all issues that plague our city long before April's unrest and I ask that all who want to see change join us in peacefully fighting for change."

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