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Obama Has No Plans to Go to Baltimore Amid Freddie Gray Protests

The White House said President Obama had no immediate plans to travel to Baltimore amid massive protests earlier this week.
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/ Source: NBC News

The White House on Thursday said President Barack Obama has no immediate plans to travel to Baltimore amid massive protests earlier this week sparked by the death of a man who died in police custody.

At a White House news conference, Press Secretary John Earnest said that while the president was very focused on the issues in Baltimore, the need to keep police presence focused on the protests themselves is preventing the president from traveling there at this time.

"There is significant police presence required to respond to whatever significant event has occurred in that local community," he said. "And the president’s reluctance to draw resources away from that immediate response is the reason that he often doesn't go right away."

But Press Secretary Earnest added that "the current plan" was not to wait for things to calm within the next week or two before the president definitely visited the city.

"It could be added to the schedule, but that's not the current plan," he said.

Baltimore has simmering with anger and unrest following the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died on April 19 of a spinal cord injury — one week after being taken to a hospital for injuries sustained while in custody of Baltimore police. Riots broke out Monday afternoon following Gray's funeral.

President Obama condemned the violent protests on Tuesday, saying, "there's no excuse for the kind of violence we saw."

Obama added that the problems gripping the city are not new, and that the entire country needs to "do some soul-searching."

Earlier Thursday, the Baltimore police department announced it had given the findings of a confidential investigation over to prosecutor Marilyn Mosby. The Justice Department is running its own, independent investigation into the incident.


— Daniella Silva