Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed in federal court against city officials, including the former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the police department. Nearly 60 plaintiffs accused city officials of mishandling the city’s emergency plan in 2015, when a series of violent riots broke out in the city.
The 700-page lawsuit pointed out that in April 2015, city officials failed to put a stop to the rioting and looting that broke out after the death of Freddie Gray, even though city officials were forewarned of the potential outbreak of violence.
During the riots, approximately 380 of the city’s businesses were damaged or destroyed. Many of those businesses were located south of North Avenue in West Baltimore. Property losses amounted to an estimated $13 million.
Under a Maryland riot act statute, the parties are permitted to sue the city for property damage that results from civil unrest. Along with Rawlings-Blake and the Baltimore City Police Department, Mayor Catherine Pugh, former Police commissioner Anthony Batts, the state and the City Council are named as defendants in the lawsuit. The plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount in damages.