Baltimore Mayor: We Gave Protesters Space to Destroy
UPDATE: The mayor's office issued a clarification on the earlier statement on Monday.
"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 violence 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. Any suggestion otherwise would be a misinterpretation of her statement."
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said at a news conference that she gave protesters space to destroy in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death.
Gray suffered a spinal injury at some point while in police custody and died a week later. Authorities haven’t explained how his spine was injured.
“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,” Rawlings-Blake said of the protesters. “And we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to deescalate, and that’s what you saw.”
Authorities say 34 protesters were arrested Sunday. Six officers were hurt in the protests.
Read more from FoxNews.com:
Just before nightfall Saturday, groups of protesters marched from City Hall to the Camden Yards baseball stadium, where the Baltimore Orioles played the Boston Red Sox. Fans were told to briefly stay inside the stadium until the police were able to clear an intersection outside of the venue.
Meanwhile, a smaller "splinter group" looted a convenience store and threw tables and chairs through storefront windows, shattering the glass. One group smashed the window of a department store inside a downtown mall and, at one point, a protester tossed a flaming metal garbage can toward a line of police officers in riot gear as they tried to push back the crowd.
Earlier, a group of protesters smashed the windows of at least three police cars and got into fights with baseball fans outside a bar.
Gray’s twin sister Fredricka Gray urged peace at a news conference Saturday.
"My family wants to say, can you all please, please stop the violence? Freddie Gray would not want this,” she said.
Hear Rawlings-Blake's comments below.
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