Baltimore police out in force amid false shooting report by Fox News

A law enforcement officer washes the face of a woman who was affected by pepper spray in Baltimore, as protests threatened to arrest again after a false shooting report. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A law enforcement officer washes the face of a woman who was affected by pepper spray in Baltimore, as protests threatened to arrest again after a false shooting report. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Baltimore police denied a media report on Monday they had shot a black man while trying to take him into custody, saying the man's firearm went off accidentally while officers were arresting him and that no one was injured.

The incident, which followed weeks of protests over the death last month of a 25-year-old black man in police custody, drew a crowd of about 100 protesters to a corner that was the site of a riot a week ago.

A senior Baltimore police officer on the scene told reporters that the man had been put into an ambulance as a precautionary measure.

"No one was injured," the officer said. "Nowhere on his body does he have a gunshot wound."

Fox News, which had reported that the man had been shot while he was fleeing authorities, apologised for what it said was an inaccurate report.

"On behalf of (reporter) Mike Tobin and the rest of our crew there, and the rest of us at Fox News, I'm very sorry for the error and glad we were able to correct it quickly," network anchor Shepard Smith said on the air.

Three days after the city's top prosecutor filed charges against six police officers for the death last month of Freddie Gray, many activists who had participated in weeks of marches protesting Gray's death demanded more details on the incident.

"There is definitely a camera overlooking Penn and North. Let's see the footage," Deray McKesson, a leading voice among the anti-police activists who have staged protests in recent months, said on Twitter.

Gray's death at the hands of police was the latest in a string of police killings, including incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, that triggered a wave of protests across the United States.

A night curfew that had been imposed was lifted by Baltimore's mayor on Sunday. The mayor said the Maryland National Guard would begin withdrawing from the streets over the next week.