The number of homicides in the US city of Baltimore has reached a record high, prompting residents to propose a 3-day ceasefire to stop the killings.
Activists in Baltimore pursued a city-wide 72-hour ceasefire that would go into effect Friday and last at least through Sunday, hoping to end a record level of violence that has claimed more than 200 lives.
The bloodshed in the US city made 2017 the deadliest in a generation.
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.”
“The idea is to persuade shooters to put down their guns for three whole days, and remember what it feels like to make a positive decision for themselves, and for their city,” Bridgeford said.
As the toll of victims rises, the police department has reassigned 150 officers to Baltimore’s most dangerous areas in an attempt to curb the bloodshed amid internal turmoil and mounting criticism.
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 police in the city of Baltimore of routinely discriminating against African-Americans and using excessive force against juveniles and people with mental health disabilities.
Baltimore residents have particularly been at loggerheads with its police force since April 2015, when 25-year-old Freddie Gray suffered a fatal injury while in police custody.
The report blamed Baltimore officials for failing to provide officers with sufficient policy guidance and to hold officers accountable for their misconduct.
Gray’s death set off Baltimore's worst protests and riots in decades and stoked a debate on what is known as the US police brutality against people of color, most particularly African-Americans.
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.