Dozens of people arrested in violent demonstrations this week in Baltimore were being released early Wednesday evening because police were unable to complete their paperwork in time, the state public defender’s office said.
As many as 101 detainees began walking free without charges about the same time that Baltimore police announced that their report into the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man who died in police custody this month, wouldn’t be made public Friday.
Police Commissioner Anthony Batts had set a deadline of Friday to file the report with state investigators. Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said Wednesday night that the report would remain closed to protect the integrity of the inquiry.
Thousands of people crammed the area around City Hall in a so-far peaceful rally Wednesday night ahead of a 10 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew that was imposed Tuesday. The curfew was ordered after protests turned violent Monday night after Gray’s funeral.
As the curfew resumed Wednesday night at 10 o’clock, the city’s streets again started to clear. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, walked the streets with a bullhorn, imploring people: “Let’s go home.”
The public defender, a government agency that represents suspects who have no lawyer, had filed habeas corpus petitions demanding that people arrested Monday night be released if they weren’t formally charged within 24 hours. No court has “amended or changed the rules that require these important safeguards,” it said.
Early Wednesday evening, many of those detained began streaming out of the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center.
The releases were the result of a logjam for police who were scrambling to pull the necessary paperwork to file charges at the same time they were trying to keep peace on the city’s streets, Kowalczyk said.
Read more: NBC News
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