The parents of 18-year-old Allen Bullock thought they were doing the right thing and teaching their son a valuable lesson when they told him to turn himself into the police after the youth took part in rioting sparked by the death in police custody of Freddie Gray. Bullock's picture appeared on the front page of the Baltimore Sun on Sunday as the youth stood on the hood of a police car, apparently smashing the cruiser's windshield in with an orange traffic cone.
But the teen's mom says that they never should have told her son to surrender to police, now that he's being hit with a bail sum they can't possibly afford and a penalty that could go as high as life in prison.
To see the photo and more images of Bullock, watch the video above, created by the Guardian.
Bullock is now being held on an astounding $500,000 bail, well out of the price range of mom Bobbi Smallwood and stepfather Maurice Hawkins — who live in a low-income area of Baltimore, and who encouraged their son to give himself up after they saw footage of his actions during rioting on television.
They wanted Allen to learn a lesson, and to face a harsh punishment — but not that harsh. Bullock is looking at the possibility of his entire future disappearing over one broken windshield, and the parents told the Guardian that what's happening to their son is simply unfair.
"As parents, we wanted Allen to do the right thing," said Smallwood, quoted in the Guardian. "He was dead wrong and he does need to be punished. But he wasn't leading this riot. He hasn't got that much power."
"By turning himself in he also let me know he was growing as a man and he recognized what he did was wrong... But they are making an example of him and it is not right."Allen Bullock now faces eight charges that include rioting and property destruction. The charges are his first as an adult, though he had a few minor scrapes with the law as a juvenile, his parents says.
Under Maryland State Law, rioting carries a maximum penalty of life in prison — though his parents believe a sentence of between four and eight years could be more likely.
While Bullock's mother told the Guardian that she regrets telling her son to turn himself in, his stepfather still maintains that it was the right move because he feared what police would do to Allen if he did not own up to his actions — the police would "find him, knock down our door and beat him," Hawkins said.
[Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images]