Washington (CNN)Democratic presidential contender Martin O'Malley returned to his riot-scarred home city of Baltimore on Tuesday after canceling a series of paid speeches in Ireland.
O'Malley cancels Ireland speeches, returns to Baltimore
O'Malley had been in Dublin with plans to speak to a law firm, a renewable energy company, PricewaterhouseCoopers executives and IBM executives.
But he returned Tuesday "to be with the people in the city that he loves," said O'Malley spokeswoman Lis Smith.
"Since last night, he has been reaching out to community leaders, the mayor, and members of the clergy to offer his assistance where appropriate and needed," Smith said. "In the coming days, he will be doing what he can to raise awareness about volunteer opportunities, while participating in the healing process with the people of Baltimore."
His canceled trip comes after O'Malley said over the weekend that Americans must "talk with one another" and "acknowledge our fears and our shortcomings" to stop police deaths in the future.
The former Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor's comments during a visit to South Carolina came in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, a Baltimore man who reportedly didn't receive medical attention while in custody and being transported by a police van.
Speaking with reporters, O'Malley said Gray's death was "another awful and horrific loss of life."
He said institutions like police departments need to become more "open and transparent" if lessons from cases like Gray's death can be learned to "save lives in the future."
"Whenever, whether it is a police custodial death or a police involved shooting, we all have a responsibility to ask whether there are things we can do that would prevent such a loss of life from happening in the future," O'Malley said.
"There is a lot of grief and a lot of anguish and we have seen it around the country. And we are going to continue to see more of these images since we all now have cell phones and video cameras," he said. "And there is probably very few issues quite as intertwined with the very painful racial legacy in our country as the issue of law enforcement and public safety."
O'Malley has made his time as Baltimore's mayor a key part of his pitch for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. He touted it in a recent speech to the Polk County Democrats in Iowa.
He said when he ran for mayor in 1999, Baltimore was the "most violent, most addicted, most abandoned city in America," and that he "set out to make our city work again, to make the dream true again."
"Together, in other words, we put into action that powerful belief that, that in our community, there is no such thing as a spare American. That we are all in this together," O'Malley said. "Over the next 10 years, Baltimore went on to achieve the biggest reduction in part one crime of any major city in America.