BALTIMORE, Md. — He’s been in the 2016 race for a mere three days, but Dr. Ben Carson returned to Baltimore for the first time Thursday following the riots that consumed the city much of the past two weeks after the death of Freddie Gray.
During his discussion with community leaders and pastors at the Bilingual Church of Baltimore, Carson pushed back against the charges issued by Baltimore City State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, while also offering up his own expertise on the causation of Gray’s injuries.
Toward the tail end of his two hour discussion, Carson admitted that he “probably wouldn’t have charged” the offending officers “to that degree.” This admission comes after he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday morning that Mosby was “sitting on a powder keg” and needed to “calm the situation down,” though he did not say how to do so specifically.
In addition, the newly-minted 2016 candidate argued that not much can be known since only a select few have seen the evidence.
“I probably wouldn’t have charged them to that degree,” Carson said. “But then again, I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a district attorney. Plus, none of us has seen the evidence that she has seen. So without seeing the evidence, it’s impossible to weigh in on whether she overturns it.”
Carson, who spent nearly 40 years as a Baltimore resident, also said that Gray’s injuries were probably a result of “direct trauma to the spine,” which most likely occurred when the officers in question arrested the 25-year-old. The former neurosurgeon also told the crowd of about 30 total that “all kinds of things can happen” when someone (as in Gray’s case, allegedly) is “rattling around with a destabilized spine.”
“In this case, putting on my doctor’s hat. An injury to the spine that can create the kind of damage that that did requires direct trauma to the spine,” Carson told the East Baltimore church crowd. “This is not something you get from flailing around.”
“More than likely, in the process of apprehending him — he’s put on the ground in a prone position and somebody, you know, put a knee in a wrong position, and that can destabilize the spine,” the former Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon said. “And then, when you’re rattling around with a destabilized spine, all kind of things can happen. I’m sure that was not the intent of whoever did it, but obviously it looks very suspicious to the community.”
After his 25 minute-long monologue, Carson opened the floor up to questions, which ranged from Baltimore Police treatment of citizens to the faults of the city’s education system and the “dependent state.”
The event, which was intended to last an hour (2 p.m.-3 p.m.) ended up lasting more than two full hours, with Carson giving the community leaders and city patrons the floor to air their frustrations.
The crowd showed its appreciation for the longtime Baltimore resident’s appearance, with eleven pastors interrupting the discussion to lead a prayer for Carson midway through the event.
Carson also directed his ire at members of the left-wing for trying to push a narrative that Carson wants to take away safety nets and government programs for those of lower socio-economic status. Rather, telling them he wants to build up the economy and ween people off of those programs as they become more successful.
“What you have to do is fix the economy, because what we have to do is bring back the kind of jobs that you’re talking about to give them viable options. When people have viable options, that’s when you start pulling the entitlements,” Carson told the crowd. “I want to substitute programs that allow people to move out of the state of dependency. But there’s a group of individuals who are steadfastly intent on making sure that they keep people where they want them to be so that they can control them.”
Carson was also slated to appear at the Maryland Right to Life banquet later Thursday in Woodlawn, Md.