Protests over the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, took a violent turn on Saturday, resulting in dozens of arrests and widespread property damage. During a recent press conference, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake confirmed that the protesters were being given “space” to “destroy.”
“While we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on,” the mayor said of the protesters. “We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. 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.”
Someone needs to explain to me how destroying someone else’s property in any way accomplishes anything. Protesting is a right of every American; however, violence and property destruction are not a right–they are a criminal offense. Those who sought to destroy should have been promptly taken into custody–not given space to do so. The message sent to the people of Baltimore is that the police will not defend their businesses. This is not a good message to send. I suspect we will see many businesses move out of Baltimore in the near future because it is not safe to stay there. Also, what impact will the statement of the Mayor have on the cost of insurance for businesses in the affected area.