MD Sheriff to Hannity: I Promised Baltimore Business Owner I Would Not 'Stand Down'
A sheriff from Wicomico County, Maryland, talked to Sean Hannity Wednesday night (video above) about what he witnessed on the ground in Baltimore during Monday's riots.
Hannity and Fox News have reported, citing police sources, that Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a stand-down order to police, preventing them from intervening as hordes of looters destroyed businesses and cars.
Sheriff Mike Lewis, who was in Baltimore to help with security, said he encountered a distraught business owner early Tuesday morning.
He said that business owner asked him for help and mentioned a "stand-down order."
"She actually asked me, 'do you guys still have the stand-down order?' So she obviously heard that from other police officers. I said, 'Ma'am, I can't tell you what those police officers will do, but I promise you, I will protect your business.' She pointed her business out to me on that corner. I said, 'I will protect your business as long as we're here. I won't stand down.'" said Lewis.
He agreed with Hannity that a lot of the damage could have been prevented.
Lewis said he observed the "whole gamut" of felonies going on Monday night, including burglary, arson, car theft, and assaults on police officers.
When asked by Bill Hemmer whether she ever gave a "stand-down" order, Rawlings-Blake answered that she believes the city's strategy was "appropriate."
She pointed out that there was no loss of life in the streets, but acknowledged that more than a dozen cops were hurt.
We heard more on this subject this morning on "America's Newsroom" from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Giuliani said he witnessed the strategy used in Baltimore about 20 years ago in New York and it did not work.
"It used to be called the venting period, the cooling-off period. We had two riots in New York as a result of that," he said.
He explained that in New York City, officials have been able to prevent riots by immediately arresting the first people who break the law.
"The first person who throws a rock gets arrested. The first person who breaks a window gets arrested. The first person who burns anything gets arrested."
Giuliani said Rawlings-Blake needs to realize that the "police control the streets, not the protesters."
"Protesters get to protest in appropriate places. Appropriate places are sidewalks, not streets. The streets belong to all of us," he said, adding that when streets or bridges are blocked it presents a serious threat to public safety because emergency vehicles cannot go through.
Watch his full analysis below.