By Gary R’nel
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Baltimore’s Mayor and State Attorney each best exemplify the purest definition of an incendiary device. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s comments following the death of Freddie Gray after suffering a spinal cord injury allegedly incurred during an arrest by police exacerbated and provoked an already inflamed emotionally tense city.
Rawlings-Blake’s words effectively told police to stand down as demonstrators congregated following the arrest, with the Mayor saying, “It’s a very delicate balancing act because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave to those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.” After being put under intense criticism for her remark, she later accused the media of misinterpreting her comment.
Richard Manning, the president of Americans for Limited Government, maintains that the Mayor’s comments “legitimized the actions of the rioters and encouraged an escalation effectively telling rioter and police officer alike that the city does not have either law enforcement’s or the law-abiding citizen’s backs as the confrontation continues to grow”. Also, as chaos was descending upon Baltimore, Rawlings-Blake was hesitant to call for additional resources such as the National Guard to protect police and citizens. In a separate column, I will address the Mayor’s feckless leadership in her tenure thus far.
The state’s attorney for Baltimore City, Marilyn J. Mosby, announced charges against the six officers involved barely 24 hours after the police completed their investigation. The words that Mosby used during her press conference were appalling, embarrassing and reprehensible. This was a Tony award-winning theatrical performance in political demagoguery. “To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America, I heard your call,” Mosby said as part of her statement “for no justice, no peace.”
Did I mention that Mosby’s husband, Nick, is a Baltimore City councilman or that Freddie Gray’s family attorney had contributed $5,000 to Mosby’s campaign? The appearance of a conflict of interest has prompted the Fraternal Order of Police to ask Mosby to remove herself from the investigation.
Politics should play no role here but, sadly, seem placed at the epicenter of this event.