A woman was charged with second degree assault after she dumped water on the head of Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Saturday.
Rawlings-Blake was attending an outdoor event at Mondawmin Mall, the site of heavy looting on April 27, the day that 25-year-old Freddie Gray’s funeral was held. Gray died April 19 after being arrested by police a week earlier.
According to The Baltimore Sun, 37-year-old Lacheisa Pailin-Sheffer ran up to Rawlings-Blake as she was greeting festival-goers and poured the water on her.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake hit with water by festival-goer at Mondawmin. http://t.co/WFguextIZz pic.twitter.com/nZ2SLPXKxy
— The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) July 11, 2015
Pailin-Sheffer was quickly arrested. Her motive is unclear.
Here's a pic of woman who splashed water on mayor. No word if Oriole Bird is an accomplice http://t.co/Xm9ncf7KYv pic.twitter.com/igV8voLscC
— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) July 11, 2015
“I didn’t know what it was that she threw at me,” Rawlings-Blake told The Sun right after the incident. “I hope it was water. It was more shocking than anything else.”
It’s been rough-going for Rawlings-Blake of late. She has been heavily criticized for how she handled the looting and riots following Gray’s death which led to the destruction of over 200 businesses. During a press conference following the first day of rioting, on April 25, Rawlings-Blake said that city and police officials’ strategy of crowd control “provided looters and rioters with gave those who wished to destroy space to do that.”
Many took that to mean that Rawlings-Blake implemented a strategy to allow rioters to destroy. But she later clarified those remarks, claiming that she was merely saying that by respecting protesters’ rights, police inadvertently allowed rioters to commit crime.
Nevertheless, many of her critics have claimed that Rawlings-Blake gave orders to the police department to stand down during the rioting and looting.
Earlier this week, Rawlings-Blake fired Baltimore police commissioner Anthony Batts after the Baltimore police union released an after-action report of the response to the riots. That report faulted police and city leaders for not protecting police officers. At the same time, violent crime has spiked in the city to levels not seen in two decades.
The recent tumult has created political vulnerabilities for Rawlings-Blake, a Democrat. She’s facing a primary challenge from former mayor Sheila Dixon.