After a week of protests, people angry over the unexplained police-custody death of Freddie Gray promised their biggest march Saturday, when they would try to "shut down" the city.
Meanwhile, the mayor thanked protesters for being peaceful so far and said the police commissioner assured her the investigation into Gray's death is moving as quickly as possible. She expects the results to be turned over to prosecutors in a week. They will decide whether any criminal charges will be filed.
"I want answers," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said, adding she wants to know why police policies were not followed during Gray's arrest.
Gray was arrested April 12 after he made eye contact with officers and ran away, police said. Officers held him down, handcuffed him and loaded him into a police van. While inside, he became irate and leg cuffs were put on him, police have said.
Gray was not buckled with a seat belt, a violation of the police department's policy.
He asked for medical help several times and after a 30-minute ride, paramedics were called. At some point — either during his arrest or inside the van — he suffered a mysterious spinal injury. Authorities have not explained how or when it occurred. Six officers have been suspended with pay during the investigation.
Gray was in the hospital for a week. He died Sunday.
The leader of a group of local ministers called on Police Commissioner Anthony Batts to resign immediately.
"It seems that no one in the police department can explain what happened," said the Rev. Alvin Gwynn Sr., president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Baltimore.
He said the police department is "in disarray" and Batts has shown a "lack of viable leadership capabilities."
The president of a black lawyers' group said thousands of people would turn out Saturday, when good weather was forecast and the Orioles are hosting the Boston Red Sox. for a march to "shut down" Baltimore to protest.
"Things will change on Saturday, and the struggle will be amplified," said Malik Shabazz of Black Lawyers for Justice.
Shabazz rejected the notion that he was an outside agitator who would stir up trouble.
Bernard Young, Baltimore City Council president said prior to a rally on Thursday that he hoped citizens wouldn't let "outside forces come in here and dictate how we act by destroying our infrastructure."
"We can lead ourselves. We're capable of doing that," he said.