Baltimore mayor: We 'gave those who wished to destroy space to do that'
This statement by Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is either a true political gaffe – inadvertently telling the truth about what you really think – or a case of a politician in serious need of psychological assistance.
Rawlings-Blake seemed to say at a press conference about the rioting and looting that took place on Saturday night during a protest against police that it was the city's plan to give violent protestors "space" to carry out their mayhem.
Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made a stunning admission Saturday in the aftermath of violent protests over the recent death of Freddie Gray, saying she wanted to give space to those “who wished to destroy.”
And destroy, some did.
Numerous storefronts and vehicles were damaged and businesses were looted at the tail end of a day of demonstrations. Thirty-four people were arrested and six police officers suffered minor injuries. Baseball fans attending a game at Camden Yards were told to stay inside the ballpark until violence outside of the stadium subsided.
“I’ve made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech,” Rawlings-Blake said during a press conference Saturday night.
“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 those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”
Instead of a "no go" zone for riorters, city officials apparently set up a "go for it" zone for those wishing to create chaos.
And "go for it" they did. While the protest against the death in police custody of a young black man began peacefully enough, several dozen demonstrators eventually ended up breaking store windows, looting, and beating up onlookers, including a reporter.
The mayor's office issued this incredible statement that says her honor didn't say what she actually said.
What she is saying within this statement was that there was an effort to give the peaceful demonstrators room to conduct their peaceful protests on Saturday. Unfortunately, as a result of providing the peaceful demonstrators with the space to share their message, that also meant that those seeking to incite violent also had the space to operate. The police sought to balance the rights of the peaceful demonstrators against the need to step in against those who were seeking to create violence.
The mayor is not saying that she asked police to give space to people who sought to create violence.
Keep this nonsense in mind when viewing her entire statement, in context:
There are some big-city mayors who have an emotional affinity for violent protestors. Recall the mayor of Oakland, Jean Quan, who gave city workers time off to attend Occupy Oakland protests but then was forced to clear the space in front of city hall of tents and paraphenalia when protests turned violent. Incredibly, after a night of burning and looting, the mayor then apologized the next day for clearing the tent city and invited the protestors back.
You can't reason with the mob. And in the case of Baltimore's protestors, gimlet-eyed professional agitators are on hand to make sure that any mayor who coddles those who would create mayhem in the streets pays for his or her sympathy with destructive behavior.