Baltimore rioting damage costs millions

2015-05-14 05:37
A protestor holds a sign in Baltimore. (Matt Rourke, AP)

A protestor holds a sign in Baltimore. (Matt Rourke, AP)

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Washington - Damage from rioting in Baltimore over the death of a black man from injuries in police custody is estimated at $9m, a US government survey showed on Wednesday.

The survey by the Small Business Administration found that more than 30 businesses and one home sustained major damage between April 25 and May 3 in unrest sparked by the death of Freddie Gray, 25.

The survey also found 254 businesses and one home experienced minor damage.

Damages to businesses totalled $8 927 000, and to homes $60 000, a Small Business Administration spokesperson said.

Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, in a letter on Tuesday also signed by fellow Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and US Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, called on the Small Business Administration to help with the creation of disaster centres.

They also urged the agency to come up with a plan to inform business owners who are eligible for benefits about how to apply for disaster loan assistance.

A spokesperson for the Baltimore Fire Department said the city recorded 61 structural fires over April 27 and 28, during the height of the arson and looting. The mayor's office previously said that 15 buildings were burned.

The spokesperson had no update for the number of burned vehicles. The mayor's office has said 144 vehicles were set ablaze.

The Baltimore Development Corporation, a non-profit group that promotes economic development, said 351 business reported damages and inventory loss, a spokesperson said.

The group did not assess a dollar amount for the damage.

Among the stores looted were pharmacies belonging to CVS Health. One of them, which was filmed with smoke pouring from it, became a visual symbol of the unrest. The company said last week it would rebuild the two fire-damaged outlets.

Baltimore's chief prosecutor has brought criminal charges, including one murder charge, against six officers involved in Gray's arrest.

The US Justice Department on Friday launched an investigation into the Baltimore Police Department's use of force and whether there were patterns of discriminatory policing.

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