Baltimore police report that a dozen Black Lives Matter and Baltimore BLOC members were arrested outside the Hyatt Regency Sunday, where the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police was holding their biennial conference.
Some protesters refused to leave, blocking access to an escalator and chaining themselves to railings, according to WJZ.
The group Baltimore BLOC considers themselves to be a "grassroots collective of friends, families & neighborhoods united to rebuild communities & organize for kujichagulia," which is the second of seven principles of Kwanzaa about self-determination.
The members also joined hands and carried signs that read “Abolish Racist F.O.P.” Later, they posted photos of those arrested using the hashtag #StopFOP about police brutality.
"We are targeting the FOP because we know that the FOP is not a Union," the organization said in a press release. "The FOP is a 'good ol’ boys club' that prioritizes the legal protection for their officers over public safety and justice. They are a private institution whose primary purpose is to protect their members, not as workers, but rather as a protected class--above the law and unaccountable in their systematic brutality, misogyny, and racism."
Many protesters and allies posted videos and photos of the incident on Twitter to promote the action and document the arrests.
#BmoreBLOC & #BYP100 DC are currently shutting down the FOP conference in the name of #Korryn Gaines #StopFOP https://t.co/ka6ls0YWUr— asha (@asha) 1471198385.0
#blacklivesmatter inner harbor protesting fraternal order of police. https://t.co/vs54vMzGyU— baynardwoods (@baynardwoods) 1471198357.0
Members of BMOREBLOC & BYP100 are being arrested by the Baltimore police. Putting bodies on the line for Korryn. https://t.co/zNSqEoy6ad— BYP100 (@BYP100) 1471197983.0
One BLOC member alleged that an FOP member threw a BLOC protester into a wall.
Chains cut but protesters still linked and now sitting on floor. https://t.co/VHm03HUvRd— baynardwoods (@baynardwoods) 1471200653.0
Just watched guy in @FOP3 lodge shirt throw someone into a wall as @BaltimorePolice members watched. @CommishKDavis @CivilRights— baynardwoods (@baynardwoods) 1471201658.0
.@CommishKDavis is this one of yours? He is really making things inside the Hyatt way worse & threw man into a wall https://t.co/iF3LRMo7pA— baynardwoods (@baynardwoods) 1471201858.0
.@BaltimorePolice commander Clayton arrested @BmoreBloc member after he was knocked by FOP member— baynardwoods (@baynardwoods) 1471201536.0
In a press conference, the Baltimore Police Department said that those arrested were due to them chaining themselves to fixed objects. They are being charged with trespassing. The protest was non-violent and none were harmed.
LIVE on #Periscope: Protestors arrested at downtown Baltimore hotel: https://t.co/3Y2UjaUItJ— Baltimore Police (@Baltimore Police) 1471211446.0
The protesters listed a series of demands on their Facebook, listed below:
- Release the names of the officers who shot Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old woman who was fatally shot recently by Baltimore County Police following an armed standoff;
- Include elected citizens/residents on the Police Trial Board;
- Close all 79 FOP lodges in Maryland and reopen them as community centers and homeless shelters;
- Do away with internal investigations of police misconduct and replace them with external investigations;
- Introduce community oversight to the FOP collective bargaining process;
- Divest from, and demilitarize, the police force.
BLOC and supporters are still waiting for those arrested to be released and are asking supporters call the police to demand their release.