As the largely peaceful protests over the police killing of Freddie Gray in Baltimore broke down into vandalism Saturday night, police in the city maintained restraint, attempting to avoid a repeat of the riots that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, last year — and that was exactly the wrong approach, according to Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson.
In a debate with Rod Wheeler, a former Washington, D.C., homicide detective, Carlson said that the proper response would have been a military-style threat of violence.
Wheeler observed during the discussion that the Baltimore police appeared to deliberately take an approach that diverged widely from the heavily armed response used by Ferguson police to confront protesters after the police shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
Wheeler noted that the violence in Baltimore Saturday was "not that bad," consisting mainly of broken windows on police cars, and most of the protests have not become violent at all — which owed at least in part to police restraint.
"There was no indication of any military-type uniforms or equipment, no armored cars, anything like that. The police really stayed back," Wheeler stated during the Fox News discussion.
But those comments seemed to provoke a panicked reaction in Tucker Carlson.
"You can't have that. That's like chaos, that's Third World stuff. You can't have people smashing police cars... Why wouldn't someone fire a shotgun in the air and say knock it off?"
"With these types of demonstrations, when the police become more aggressive, then we see the crowd tends to become more aggressive," Wheeler explained patiently. "So, what we tend to do is kind of just keep them within a certain area, confined within a certain area, and let them do the things that they want to do. But when they really start to become destructive, then we start moving in."
But Carlson did not agree, insisting that the Baltimore Freddie Gray protests represented "a threat to civilization."
He insisted that violent protests were sweeping the country as "we watch the bonds of civilization fray."
"That's what this is, the end of civil order... This is not a civil rights act, it's a threat to civilization itself."
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