Baltimore Rioting Damage Estimated At $9 Million, U.S. Government Says


WASHINGTON, May 13 (Reuters) - Damage from rioting in Baltimore over the death of a black man from injuries in police custody is estimated at $9 million, a U.S. government survey showed on Wednesday.

The survey by the Small Business Administration found that more than 30 businesses and one home sustained major damage between April 25 and May 3 in unrest sparked by the death of Freddie Gray, 25.

The survey also found 254 businesses and one home experienced minor damage.

Damages to businesses totaled $8,927,000, and to homes $60,000, a Small Business Administration spokeswoman said.

Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, in a letter on Tuesday also signed by fellow Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and U.S. Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, called on the Small Business Administration to help with the creation of disaster centers.

They also urged the agency to come up with a plan to inform business owners who are eligible for benefits about how to apply for disaster loan assistance.

A spokesman for the Baltimore Fire Department said the city recorded 61 structural fires over April 27 and 28, during the height of the arson and looting. The mayor's office previously said that 15 buildings were burned.

The spokesman had no update for the number of burned vehicles. The mayor's office has said 144 vehicles were set ablaze.

The Baltimore Development Corp, a non-profit group that promotes economic development, said 351 business reported damages and inventory loss, a spokeswoman said.

The group did not assess a dollar amount for the damage.

Among the stores looted were pharmacies belonging to CVS Health Corp. One of them, which was filmed with smoke pouring from it, became a visual symbol of the unrest. The company said last week it would rebuild the two fire-damaged outlets.

Baltimore's chief prosecutor has brought criminal charges, including one murder charge, against six officers involved in Gray's arrest.

The U.S. Justice Department on Friday launched an investigation into the Baltimore Police Department's use of force and whether there were patterns of discriminatory policing.

(Reporting by John Clarke and Ian Simpson; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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