BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A number of city leaders are speaking out and urging rioters to get off the streets.
Derek Valcourt has some of their responses.
The mayor insisted she would not surrender the city to a band of what she called “thugs.” She is calling for calm and peace. The police commissioner is insisting that parents get involved and help.
Police watched from the air and flooded the streets with hundreds of officers, but still not enough to quell the rioting and looting.
City leaders expressing a range of emotions, from anger to disappointment to embarrassment.
“Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
“I’m not going to be as nice as everyone else. I am simply pissed off. This is the city I love, this is the city that I chose to dedicate my life to and we cannot stand idly and let thugs–whatever you want to call them–I won’t even say they’re thugs, we’re going to call them cowards, ruin our city,” said Councilman Brandon Scott.
“The whole world is watching us, and some people are even calling us animals,” said City Council President Jack Young.
Many of the early rioters appeared to be teenagers. City and community leaders are calling on parents, grandparents and other relatives to pull their kids in the house and teach them about the importance of peaceful protests.
“People know better than to be breaking into stores and burning buildings and putting themselves in danger and putting the police in danger,” said Congressman Elijah Cummings. “That’s a problem. I’m sorry. You will never get me to say that just because somebody is young, that that’s the kind of conduct that’s acceptable.”
“What I think you see more than anything else are people trying to find a way to express themselves,” said Kweisi Mfume, former congressman. “And regrettably and unfortunately, the violent aspect of it cannot be tolerated. That’s not why Freddie Gray’s family sat in that church today and held hands. They wanted a city that would come together and help them find perpetrators of the crime, and to do it in a peaceful fashion.”
Freddie Gray’s family had asked that there be no protests Monday. That obviously did not happen.
Baltimore City Police are turning over their findings to the City State’s Attorney’s Office this Friday. It’s important to note: just because they are turning over their findings, it does not mean the prosecutor will immediately make a decision on whether or not the officers involved in the Freddie Gray case should face any charges.
The Department of Justice is also looking into what happened to Freddie Gray.