The reaction from authorities and activists to the violence exploding from protests in Baltimore appears to be a start of a pattern.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake “thanked the Nation of Islam” Saturday, “who have been very present in our efforts to keep calm and peace in our city.”
The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross asked the mayor’s office about her comments relating to giving “space” to those who wish to “destroy.” The mayor’s office would only say her comments were taken out of context.
The thank you came following the riots that erupted from local protests relating to the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died from spinal injuries he incurred during his detainment by Baltimore law enforcement.
Malik Zulu Shabazz, former chairman of the New Black Panther Party, descended upon the city the day before the protests began and he told supporters at a rally, “Shut it down if you want to! Shut it down!”
After the violence erupted the next day, he told a reporter his remarks were only condoning civil disobedience, not mass violence. However, he was “not surprised” by the protesters anger because they “haven’t received justice.”
Bloods, Crips and Nation of Islam members posed with one another on Saturday afternoon in Baltimore. The photo was posted on the Million Man March Facebook page with the caption “Bloods and Crips unite for justice for Freddie Gray #JusticeOrElse.”
The alliance between the Nation of Islam and gangs is not unusual. The Washington Times reported in 2013 that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan suggested that gang bangers are “natural soldiers” who could be taught the “science of war.”
A similar scenario with the police, gang members and the Nation of Islam happened in Ferguson, Missouri last summer when riots erupted after Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson during a struggle. Newsweek reported at the time that the riots in Ferguson were a major “recruitment tool” for the gangs in the area.
During a press briefing, National Review noted, when Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson announced a curfew in Ferguson, Shabazz told Johnson his organization — as well as the Nation of Islam — were controlling the situation in Ferguson.
By November, Farrakhan declared that if the demands of Feruson protesters weren’t met, “We’ll tear this goddamn country apart!”
“As you well know, on Thursday night, my group — and thanks to you — my organizers, along with the New Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam, we are the ones who put those men in the streets and we controlled the flow of traffic,” he said.
“I personally shut down the avenue at 2 o’clock,” Shabazz said to Johnson. “You were there, and you witnessed that,” he said noting that establishing a curfew would be a “prescription for confrontation” between protesters and police, adding that the violent confrontations ended because “we have the rapport with the demonstrators—they respect me. They respect us.”
Johnson agreed that Shabazz was “absolutely correct” in his assertions.
A grand jury did not bring charges against Wilson and the Department of Justice cleared the officer of any wrong doing.
The Daily Caller reported in early January that Farrakhan called for “retaliation” for the death of Brown. One month later, two NYPD officers were killed execution style.
The incident happened after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized the NYPD, saying his biracial son, Dante, should be fearful of police as a result of law enforcement’s apparent bias against black people. The remarks were made during protests of the NYPD’s handling of Eric Garner, a black man who died when police held him down during an attempted arrest in Staten Island.
The Baltimore City Police received a credible threat Monday that gang members are looking to take out law enforcement. The threat appears similar to a warning the NYPD received from some gang members during the Garner protests.