#PrayforBaltimore Trends Across Social Media as City Works to Recover from Night of Chaos and Rioting

( [email protected] ) Apr 28, 2015 02:17 PM EDT
Baltimore Riots
People help clean up debris from a CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Getty Images)

#PrayforBaltimore trends across social media as the city attempts to recover from a night of chaos and rioting carried out by protesters upset over the death of Freddie Gray.

On Tuesday, looted storefronts were being boarded up, dozens of burned cars hauled away and as many as 15 police officers recovering from injuries suffered during the rioting that broke out on Monday night.

According to the AFP, the riots, which led to 200 arrests and forced Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to declare a state of emergency, became particularly violent after hoards of teens used social media to launch a "Purge," the slang term taken from a movie and meaning a night where laws are not observed.

Speaking late Monday, City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts admitted that his officers were not prepared for the outbreak of violence

"Yes, we planned for it. That wasn't the issue," Batts told reporters. "We just had too many people out there [for us] to overcome the numbers we had." The commissioner added that the rioters had pulled his officers to "opposite ends of the city" and had "outnumbered us and outflanked us."

However, in addition to the many rioters fueled by anger over the death of Gray - a 25 year old black man who reportedly died of a spinal cord injury sustained while in police custody - there were many other Baltimore residents who, while also upset by Mr. Gray's death, were horrified by the ensuing violence and are urging prayers for their city.

"Honestly it saddens my heart to see what is happening to Baltimore, one of the cities close to my heart...#prayforBaltimore," tweeted one Baltimore resident.

"Please #PrayforBaltimore..my city needs guidance," tweeted another.

"Violence on violence only promotes further hatred. Please pray for my city..#prayforBaltimore," read another tweet.

Speaking on Monday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake strongly condemned the "thugs" behind the mayhem and announced a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew beginning Tuesday and lasting at least a week.

"Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs who, in a very senseless way, are trying to tear down what so many have fought for," the mayor said. "It's idiotic to think that by destroying your city, you're going to make life better for anybody."

Later on Tuesday, however, the Mayor took to social media to express her gratitude to the thousands of people working to restore order within the city.

"We are seeing volunteers from across Baltimore joining together to clean up damage from yesterday's shameless acts of violence," she wrote on Facebook. "This is what Baltimore is about. I sincerely want to thank all those out there cleaning up streets and sharing their love for our city."

Gov. Hogan also said he was "inspired" by the dedication shown by many Baltimoreans to cleaning up the city,

"In Baltimore this morning to speak to the community and thank our city police, MSP, and National Guard for their incredible work helping to rebuild our city and keep our citizens safe," he wrote. "I was inspired by the dozens of Baltimoreans who came out in force to volunteer to clean up the city. Today is a new day and we are pulling out all the resources we need to ensure the events that transpired last night do not happen again."

The attorney for Gray's family, Billy Murphy, said the family had hoped to organize a peace march later in the week.