Police source: Mayor Blake ordered cops to 'stand down' at height of rioting

It appears that Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was more concerned about the safety of rioters on Monday night than police officers and the public.

A senior law enforcement source told Fox News that the mayor gave a direct order to the police chief for officers to stand down when the riots were beginning to get out of control.

Despite a firm denial by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a senior law enforcement source charges that she gave an order for police to stand down as riots broke out Monday night, raising more questions about whether some of the violence and looting could have been prevented. 

The source, who is involved in the enforcement efforts, confirmed to Fox News there was a direct order from the mayor to her police chief Monday night, effectively tying the hands of officers as they were pelted with rocks and bottles. 

Asked directly if the mayor was the one who gave that order, the source said: "You are God damn right it was." 

The claim follows criticism of the mayor for, over the weekend, saying they were giving space to those who "wished to destroy." 

By Tuesday night, despite the chaos a day earlier, Baltimore police along with the National Guard and other law enforcement contingents seemed to be restoring order in the city, which was under a curfew overnight. 

Rawlings-Blake has defended her handling of the unrest, which grew out of protests over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. 

The mayor, in an interview with Fox News' Bill Hemmer on Tuesday, denied any order was issued to hold back on Monday. 

"You have to understand, it is not holding back. It is responding appropriately," she said, saying there was no stand-down directive. 

She said her critics have a right to their opinion. 

Clearly, Rawlings-Blake did not want to be seen as bringing the hammer down on "protestors."  She went to great pains to try and separate "legitimate" protestors from the "thugs."

You can't do that in a riot.  By definition, riots are chaotic messes, and to ask police todifferentiate between protestors and looters or others causing mayhem is absurd on its face.  Similarly, the mayor's initial refusal to call Governor Hogan and request the National Guard should be seen as an attempt by Rawlings-Blake to avoid the appearance of being too harsh on the "protestors." 

The mayor noted criticism directed at civic leaders in other places where civil unrest recently broke out and probably thought her actions would be praised.  Instead, the riots got out of control very quickly, and it was noted by several observers at the time that the police were nowhere to be found.

AWR Hawkins noted on Breitbart that officers in the field were "upset and shocked" by the order to retreat.  The mayor can deny she issued the stand down order all she wants, but the facts make a liar out of her.

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