Gray Family Attorney on Rioters: 'What They Are Doing Is Wrong and We Need to Stop Them'

By Susan Jones | April 28, 2015 | 6:21am EDT

Demonstrators throw rocks at the police after the funeral of Freddie Gray on Monday, April 27, 2015. (AP Photo)

( - Billy Murphy, the attorney for Freddie Gray's family, said the violence in Baltimore was started by teenagers -- "kids who are disconnected from the overall group of people in Baltimore who are productive in society. These kids have had bad experiences in school," Murphy told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday afternoon as the rioting gained momentum.

"They are frequently harassed by the police. They are unemployed because there's no summer jobs. And so this is what you would expect in a tense time like this," Murphy continued.

"That's not a justification, though, because what they're doing is wrong. And we need to stop them. And those of us who are more mature in Baltimore, black and white together, we need to have a demonstration that shows them the right way to do it, rather than permitting them to go without leadership, the way that they're going now."

Wolf Blitzer noted what anyone watching live television could see: "It doesn't just look like 16- and 17-year-olds," he told Murphy, as the nation watched looters sacking a liquor store, one of many businesses to be robbed and/or burned.

In response, Murphy told Blitzer, "The news media has to be extraordinarily careful that by constantly showing these small pockets of violence, that they're not unintentionally encouraging other kids to join in.

"These kids are bored. They have nothing to do. They have few recreational facilities. The education system has failed them. Many of them come from homes that are more than broken. And so we don't want to give them a negative example by constantly parading this violence on national television in a way that will encourage them to join into it."

Murphy described the protesters as "the most immature young adults in our society."

"And they traditionally have not made correct calculations when left alone about what the best thing in life is to do," he added.

"And so now they have an opportunity. And we don't want to make them even more tempted to do things by spreading the picture that we're spreading. And don't overestimate the Crips and the Bloods. Those are not the kids who are out on the streets. These are just regular kids with little or nothing to do at night, who find a level of excitement that's not appropriate.

"And we need to as adults step in and show them the way by making a presence in this city, on these streets by having the kinds of demonstrations that will make them see the alternative to what they're doing."

Murphy said the family of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who suffered a serious spine injury under mysterious circumstances while in police custody, is "discouraged by what they see."

"They're upset about it. It is not what the family wants. It is not what the family needs...And so they're begging everyone to show restraint, stop the looting, get back home. Don't get involved in this negative behavior."

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