Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is under increasing scrutiny after riots and violence swept through the city. Fox News contributors are even saying she’s part of the problem.
The Baltimore Sun reports that 36 people have been killed in Baltimore in May, the highest death toll for a single month since 1999. At the same time, arrests have gone way down – 828 in the first half of May, compared to 1,909 arrests for the same period last year. Over Memorial Day weekend alone there were 28 shootings and 9 fatalities.
The mayor and Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts say they are examining the strange phenomenon. Batts claims that one factor is groups of angry protesters, who now routinely surround police officers to videotape them.
When asked directly by a reporter if the crime wave occurred because police are “doing less,” Rawlings-Blake explained there were “a lot of reasons why” the city had a sudden spike in violence.
When the reporter pressed the matter, asking if police inactivity was “one of the reasons,” Mayor Blake became defensive saying the reporter was being rude.
The Baltimore mayor insists that the police commissioner would get it under control, as he had in past crime waves.
Still, former NYPD detective and regular Fox News contributor, Pat Brosnan told Neil Cavuto that Mayor Blake contributed to the violence and has “blood on her hands” after the death-toll over the weekend.
“It’s a standard cause and effect. [Rawlings-Blake] disempowered the police and empowered the thugs with her statement to look the other way and let those who want to destroy things destroy on their own.”
According to Newsmax, he went on to explained, “that empowerment declawed the police, and she has blood on her hands, because that rhetoric, that order … was a contributing factor in these consequences.”
The order he is likely referring to was the subject of another news story from Fox News.
The news channel, citing an anonymous source reportedly involved in law enforcement in Baltimore, claimed that the mayor gave police the order to “stand-down” last month as people started rioting. The source claims the mandate came directly from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake herself.
Another conservative media storm started after the mayor said the city accidentally gave rioters space “to destroy.”
“It’s a very delicate balancing act, because, while we tried to make sure that 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.”
Mayor Blake denies the allegations about the order, and says the media have twisted her words.
City Councilman Brandon Scott also says he’s not alarmed by the drops in arrests alone.
“If you look at the history of Baltimore, some years when we had extremely high numbers of arrests, we had extreme number of homicides as well. If you look at 2011 and the record-low homicides, arrests were down.”
In addition to criticism and mass violence, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is also facing a $20 million repair bill after post-Freddie Gray rioting.
Local WBAL reported that the Baltimore mayor spun the repairs into a positive, explaining that it was alright because of her prudent financial planning.
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