Al Sharpton to Baltimore to organize march to Washington, D.C.


— Rev. Al Sharpton is headed to Baltimore this week to meet with community leaders and plan a march from that city to Washington, D.C. to ramp up pressure on federal officials to take action on racial bias in policing.

Sharpton announced his plans Monday as Baltimore erupted into chaos on the same day as the funeral for Freddie Gray, the young black man from Baltimore who died in police custody. As businesses were looted and police cars destroyed and set on fire, community leaders were quick to condemn the rioting as unproductive to their cause.

Sharpton, a civil rights activist who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, hopes to organize a two-day march from Baltimore to Washington in May.

“The march will bring the case of Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Eric Harris to the new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch. Ms. Lynch, in her new role that we all supported, must look and intervene in these cases,” Sharpton said in a press release. “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

Lynch, the newly-minted attorney general, was sworn in Monday as the violence in Baltimore erupted.

Lynch on her first day met with President Barack Obama to discuss the Baltimore riots and in a statement Monday Lynch urged “every member of the Baltimore community to adhere to the principles of nonviolence” as the Justice Department’s investigation into Gray’s death continues.

“In the days ahead, I intend to work with leaders throughout Baltimore to ensure that we can protect the security and civil rights of all residents. And I will bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing, and securing an end to violence,” she said.

Lynch also dispatched two top officials to Baltimore to help city and state officials calm the situation.

Obama also spoke with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Monday and his senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, spoke with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

Sharpton has used his platforms as a radio and T.V. host to raise issues of police brutality and racial discrimination against black men in police forces around the country as high-profile deaths in Cleveland, New York and Ferguson, Missouri shook the nation.


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