Baltimore Riots Close MECU Offices
The $1.2 billion Municipal Employees Credit Union, closed two of its branches and a call center in Baltimore Monday afternoon after demonstrations over the death of a black man in police custody turned violent.
On its website, MECU announced the 4 p.m. closing of its Elmer Bernhardt Headquarters Branch located at 7 E. Redwood Street, which is also the location listed as its headquarters on the NCUA website. It was unclear if the entire headquarters building was closed, or just a branch located in the building.
The credit union also closed the Harry Deitchman PJM Center Branch on N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and its call center.
“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” MECU stated. “Please check back for any updates regarding hours of operation tomorrow or for the rest of the week.”
There are about 20 credit unions in the city of Baltimore. Other than MECU, no other Baltimore cooperatives publicly posted early branch or office closings on Monday.
John Bratsakis, president/CEO of the Maryland-District of Columbia Credit Union Association in Columbia, said he has not been notified by other Baltimore credit unions about branch or office closing for Tuesday.
“We haven’t gotten any press releases this evening,” Bratsakis said Monday night. “That doesn’t mean that given things are happening so rapidly that that couldn’t change for tomorrow (Tuesday), but we haven’t been notified of anything yet.”
National and local media outlets reported rioters hurled rocks at police, destroyed patrol cars and looted several retail shops, including a check cashing business, a pharmacy and liquor store.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in the city. He also activated the National Guard to assist city and state police. Baltimore police reported 15 officers were injured and two remained hospitalized Monday evening. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the city would impose a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew starting Tuesday.
The rioting began soon after funeral services on Monday for Freddie Gray, 25. He died from spinal cord injury on April 19 after being taken into custody by Baltimore police on the city’s west side on April 12, according to national and local media reports.
The violence began at about 3:30 p.m. when hundreds of youths outside a mall in northwest Baltimore began clashing with police in riot gear, throwing rocks, bricks and bottles at the officers, the Associated Press reported.
At 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time, the Associated Press reported a massive fire broke out at a community-based organization building that supports youth and families.