A three-day “ceasefire” was broken in Baltimore, Maryland, after two men were fatally shot amid a record homicide rate in the predominantly African American city.
Two men, aged 24 and 37, were shot and killed on Saturday, police said, breaking the 72-hour “ceasefire” called by activists to end the “genocide among our African-American males.”
Baltimore police reported a record 204 homicides in Baltimore by the end of July. New York City, America’s most populous city, recorded 160 murders through July 30, according to police data.
Activists using the social media hashtag Baltimore Ceasefire appealed to the city’s residents that “no one kills anyone” during the three days of Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“There is a war going on in Baltimore right now. We are experiencing genocide among our African-American males, both by the hands of the Police Department and from one another. We the people need a call to action in order to save the city and our community for our future generations,” Baltimore Ceasefire said on its Facebook page.
Erricka Bridgeford, professional conflict mediator in Baltimore, made the proposal for the truce and is pushing for its implementation under the slogan, “Nobody Kill Anybody.”
Some 318 people were killed in Baltimore in 2016, according to the Baltimore Sun.
In April, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to help the city’s police bring down the soaring number of homicides.
The number of homicides has surged since protests and rioting sparked in April, 2015 by the death of Freddie Gray, an unarmed 25-year-old African American man who died in police custody.
Many blame lax US gun control laws for the record-setting homicides. The country’s gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), is vehemently opposed to any attempts to amend the existing regulations.
The US Justice Department issued a damning report last August, accusing Baltimore police of routinely discriminating against African-Americans and using excessive force against juveniles and people with mental health disabilities.
Each year, more than 32,000 people die as a consequence of gun-related violence in the United States, which is by far the highest among industrialized countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.