WASHINGTON — Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake denies a report by Fox News that she gave a stand down order to her city’s police department on the days riots broke out over the death of Freddie Gray.
Rawlings-Blake defended her actions — as well as Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s decision to not be overly aggressive towards rioters — on Saturday and Monday as not a stand down but an appropriate response for the time.
“The situation on the ground when you are engaged in an incident is a lot different than what you can see or experience on television. Officers are doing an amazing job. I don’t want to jinx myself and say we’ve had no loss of life. We’ve had some injuries with our officers and they are on the mend,” she said.
Rawlings-Blake explained, “I think they could’ve gone two ways. We could have calmed it down aggressively and been accused of using excessive force–the same thing the communities are upset about now or we can do what we did and use a very serious but measured approach and once we had the appropriate resources in place to respond appropriately, we went in.”
The Baltimore Democrat claimed the response was not a stand down saying, “No. It’s not holding back. It’s responding appropriately. You don’t have all of your equipment in play because things are changing in real time. You can’t respond. You can’t react. If you arrest someone and the wagons aren’t there, what are you gonna do with them?”
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani disagrees with the tactic used by Rawlings-Blake, telling the hosts on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday that what Maryland officials, Missouri officials and New York officials did during riots is apply a now-discredited policing theory.
Referencing one particular riot from a policing report discrediting the “cooling off period” for rioters, Giuliani said, “The mayor at the time basically allowed the people to riot at the time–to get the steam–to get it out. And the police backed off. Until finally so upset, because the cops were being beaten up so bad, that Chief Anemone had to come in, under Ray Kelly who had been a deputy, and they had to end the riot. That was after three days of people getting pounded and beaten.”
Giuliani explained, “So in the report, Gentilly writes, ‘you shouldn’t allow a cooling off period. You should arrest the first person who throws a rock. You should arrest the first person who breaks a window. You should arrest the first person who tries to burn something. Stop it immediately when it’s three people not when it’s 1000. There’s no such thing as a cooling off period. A beginning riot gets hotter. It doesn’t get cooler.”
However, Congressional Black Caucus members appear to like the response from the Baltimore City Police, believing that “much can be learned from managing civil unrest by the way this was handled.”