There are a lot of questions I want answered surrounding the death of Freddie Gray, but it should go without saying the protests that happened in Baltimore this past weekend, like the riots in Ferguson last year, are far beyond the pale. To make matters worse for Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the city’s mayor obviously a Democrat, was complicit in what happened. In a press conference on Saturday, she said that she ordered cops to allow “those who wished to destroy space to do that.”
Here is video of her remarks:
Here are the results of that kind of philosophy:
Roughly 1,200 protesters had gathered at City Hall on Saturday afternoon, officials said, to protest Gray’s death, which has prompted near-daily demonstrations since his death April 19. Gray was arrested one week before that when officers chased him through a West Baltimore neighborhood and dragged him into a police van.
However, a smaller group splintered off and looted a convenience store and smashed storefront windows. A protester tossed a flaming metal garbage can toward police officers in riot gear trying to push back the crowd. Earlier, a group of protesters smashed windows of at least three police cars.
All of this was in addition to attempts to “shut down” the city, staging things like a “die-in” in the middle of a busy intersection. The protests have continued since the weekend, and this afternoon, it was reported that “juveniles” were clashing with police as downtown businesses and institutions closed over fears of violence.
As the Associated Press noted, the looting and property destruction might indeed have been from just a small splinter group of protestors, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Democratic mayor of Baltimore was complicit in what happened because she wanted to give them the “space” to do these things. This is exactly the kind of mindset that our political leaders should not have, but it is unfortunately common among those in the Democratic Party (and weak-kneed Republicans). We don’t need to declare martial law in these circumstances, but we should not allow such uncivilized and puerile actions to happen without the knowledge that there will be serious consequences for their commission.