Mayor of Baltimore Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said that while officials worked to protect protestors taking action over the death of Freddie Gray they also gave “those who wish to destroy space to do that as well.”
During her press conference Saturday, Rawlings-Blake said that she worked with police to make sure they protected the protestors' right to free speech, “ It’s a very delicate balancing act because while we try to make sure that they (protestors) 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.
“We worked very hard to keep that balance and put ourselves in the best position to deescalate, and that’s what you saw.”
The chaotic scene on Baltimore’s streets Saturday night prompted the first public remarks from Freddie Gray’s twin sister, who pleaded for peace alongside the mayor at the news conference that evening.
‘‘My family wants to say, can you all please, please stop the violence?’’ Fredricka Gray said. ‘‘Freddie Gray would not want this.’’
Roughly 1,200 protesters had gathered at City Hall on Saturday afternoon, officials said, to protest Gray's death, which has prompted a series of demonstrations since his death April 19.
According to the Associated Press, storefront windows were broken and police car windows were smashed on Saturday in protests in the city. A protester reportedly tossed a flaming metal garbage can toward police officers in riot gear trying to push back the crowd.
Gray was arrested one week before that when officers chased him through a West Baltimore neighborhood and dragged him into a police van. Gray reportedly requested medical help before being put in the van. He ultimately died from spine injuries.
At Sunday’s press conference, Rawlings-Blake message was somewhat different than what she said on Saturday.
"At the end of the day we are one Baltimore. We need to support peaceful demonstration and continue to enforce in our communities that rioting, violence, and looting will not be tolerated in our city," the mayor said.
Associated Press reports were used in this piece.