WATCH: Baltimore Mayor, Al Sharpton, and Other Leaders Hold Summit on Improving Relations Between Police and the Community

Day after riots in Baltimore

The Rev. Al Sharpton and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake led a summit on improving relations between police and the community after the death of a man who was in police custody.

“There is a young man that has lost his life and we want to know why and we want to know what,” Sharpton said.

Among those joining Thursday’s meeting were NAACP President Cornell William Brooks and National Urban League President Marc Morial.

The meeting was held at New Shiloh Baptist Church, where the funeral for Freddie Gray was held Monday.

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“It’s from Charleston to North Charleston to Staten Island to hear. We have been involved in all of them. We are trying to act as though these are problems you can handle in isolation. There must be a national response,” Sharpton said.

Sharpton said Baltimore can be a model for how to reform policing. Rawlings-Blake told the crowd that she tried to reform the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights in Annapolis during the last legislative session but ran into stiff opposition. She said she has been doing her part to effect change.

“I invited the Department of Justice to do collaborative reform. The only thing stronger than that is if they do a consent decree. Nobody wants the Department of Justice to come and take over our city,” Rawlings-Blake said.

Gray died from a spinal injury a week after his April 12 arrest. Hours later, violence erupted in the streets near the church.

Local clergymen gathered at New Shiloh that evening and staged an impromptu march through the streets to bring calm. Many of those clergymen attended Thursday’s summit.

Eric Garner’s mother and Baltimore-native media mogul Kevin Lyles also attended the summit.


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