Freddie Gray Protests: Baltimore Mayor Ordered ‘Space’ For ‘Those Who Wished To Destroy’

The protests over the death of Freddie Gray turned violent Saturday night, resulting in the arrests of roughly 34 people in Baltimore.

According to KTLA 5, the protests were mostly calm, with demonstrators marching the streets wearing “Black Lives Matters” T-shirts and chanting, “All night, all day; we’re gonna fight for Freddie Gray.” But those came to an end when some of the protesters began throwing things at police, as well as smashing windows belonging to businesses and vehicles, and robbing a nearby convenience store.

During a press conference, Fredericka Gray, the twin sister of Freddie Gray, spoke only for a brief moment, but she sent a message to the rioters to put an end to the violent acts, according to the Associated Press, via WJLA.

“My family wants to say, ‘Can you all please, please stop the violence?’ Freddie Gray would not want this.”

Shortly after Gray’s sister called for the violence to end, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake took to the microphone to answer questions on how the city is handling the protests. Blake told a reporter that she “worked with the police” on how she wants them to handle the situation.

“It’s a very delicate balancing act, because while we tried to make sure they 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. 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.”

Saturday was the only day in Baltimore when the Freddie Gray protests turned violent. And while Blake stated during the press conference that there was “space” given to “those who wished to destroy,” she had previously stated that she did not approve of the violence taking place in Baltimore.

“After a week of peaceful demonstrations, I am profoundly disappointed to see the violence in our city this evening. I’m grateful to the many demonstrators who made their opinions known in a peaceful manner.”

[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]