Appearing on “The Lead” with host Jake Tapper Monday, CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes slammed comments made Saturday by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
In her comments, the Baltimore mayor said that she “instructed” police officers to allow space for protesters “who wished to destroy.” She also told officers “to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech.”
Fuentes told Tapper that the comment was “so absurd, I don’t know how to respond,” while wondering if the mayor wanted to turn police cars and officers along with public buildings into “piñatas” for people “to whack at.”
“I did wonder while we talking about police tactics and, in your view of police being afraid to react or seeming afraid to react to some of this violence against them,” Tapper told Fuentes. “What do you think the mayor meant when she referred to giving protestors who wish to destroy space to do that?”
“You know, Jake, I think that statement is so absurd. I don’t know how to respond,” Fuentes said. “I would just let her clarify that. Does she want to serve up police cars, or other public buildings in Baltimore or public officials like the police, turn them into piñatas for the people to come out and whack at them so they can get their aggression out of their system? I’ve never heard a statement like that and I think it’s ridiculous.”
“Is there ever a strategy to cede some territory to allow demonstrators to commit violent acts against property so that, for instance — I’m just speculating here because I have no idea what the mayor meant, so that people are not injured? Is that ever a strategy?” Tapper asked.
“No, It would be so difficult to contain to allow property to be destroyed in the interests of saving lives,” Fuentes said. “That would lead to danger to the lives there of the police, of the people, and what property would that be? People own these businesses and residences, vehicles.
“You know, is the mayor offering up other people’s property to be destroyed? I don’t know,” Fuentes said. “I think she needs to clarify that. But the police under no circumstances — they are there to protect peaceful protests. Protests that are within the, you know, the guidelines as specified by the Supreme Court in several decisions.”