Baltimore Mayor's office: Rioters torched 144 cars and 15 buildings on Monday

RTX1AJKHReuters/Shannon StapletonA woman with goods looted from a store runs past burning vehicles during clashes in Baltimore.

There were 144 vehicle fires, 15 structures fires and nearly 200 arrests in the unrest that broke out in Baltimore on Monday, according to the mayor’s office.

Rioting erupted around the city hours after the Monday funeral for Freddie Grey. The 25-year-old died of a spinal injury days after being taken into police custody.

Multiple fires ravaged the city as the riots and looting continued, lighting up Baltimore well into the night.

Early Tuesday morning, aerial footage on local station WJZ-TV showed a firefighter spraying the burned-out shell of a large building as an American flag fluttered nearby on an untouched building.

The protests started with a confrontation between police officers and teenagers outside the Mondawmin Mall on Monday afternoon.

Police knew to go to the mall because of rumblings on social media about a so-called purge, a reference to a movie where crime is legalised for 12 hours, as The Baltimore Sun reports.

Cops arrived at the mall in riot gear and students reportedly started pelting them with rocks and bricks. The police threw rocks back and sprayed tear gas, according to the newspaper.

Protests started last week shortly after Grey died but grew out of control Monday.

Maryland’s governor has declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard. Public schools are closed on Tuesday and a curfew has been implemented. It will be in effect 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. until May 4.

Baltimore riotsREUTERS/Shannon StapletonA Baltimore Metropolitan Police transport vehicle burns during clashes in Baltimore, Maryland April 27, 2015.
Baltimore riotsDrew Angerer/Getty ImagesA man sits in the street near burning cars near the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and North Avenue, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Baltimore riotsAndrew Burton/Getty ImagesTwo cars burn in the middle of an intersection at New Shiloh Baptist Church on April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Amid all this unrest, unanswered questions still loom in Grey’s death.

Grey was black. He was arrested on April 12 after making eye contact with officers and then running away, police said. He was held down, handcuffed and loaded into a van without a seat belt. Leg cuffs were put on him when he became irate inside.

He asked for medical help several times even before being put in the van, but paramedics were not called until after a 30-minute ride. Police have acknowledged he should have received medical attention on the spot where he was arrested, but they have not said how his spine was injured. He died on April 19.

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