Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is denying it, but a senior law enforcement source has told Fox News that she gave an order for police to stand down as riots broke out Monday night.
The source, who is involved in the enforcement efforts, confirmed to Fox News there was a direct order from the mayor to her police chief Monday night, effectively tying the hands of officers as they were pelted with rocks and bottles.
Asked directly if the mayor was the one who gave that order, the source said: “You are G*d damn right it was.”
This claim follows Rawlings-Blake’s comments on Sunday, when she said they were giving space to those who “wished to destroy.” On Monday, she tried (unsuccessfully) to walk that comment back. A Baltimore City councilman also told a reporter on Monday night (while a liquour store was being trashed and looted behind them) that the police had been ordered to back off so they could talk to the young guys. “And that worked out,” he said.
On Monday night buildings and cars across the city were torched. More than 100 vehicles and 15 buildings were torched according to the New York Daily News. An affordable housing center for seniors was set on fire and sixty units of senior housing were lost. According to CNN, about a dozen businesses were looted or damaged, and at least 15 police officers were wounded — six of them seriously. Reporters have taken it on the chin as well (literally): “At least nine journalists have been beaten or injured in the Baltimore riots this week — including several Monday night.” Megyn Kelly (below) put the number of buildings damaged or destroyed at 150.
But Rawlings-Blake is defending her handling of the riots.
The mayor, in an interview with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer on Tuesday, denied any order was issued to hold back on Monday.
“You have to understand, it is not holding back. It is responding appropriately,” she said, saying there was no stand-down directive.
On The Kelly File Wednesday night, reporter Leland Vittert reported that there is “a whole new mood out here now among law enforcement.”
Since the Republican governor got involved, the National Guard, lots of uniformed Baltimore police officers, and dozens of riot police have been on the scene and “ready to respond at a moment’s notice.”
Vittert said that there would be two orders for law enforcement if they were pelted with rocks and bottles: #1 is shields up, gas masks down, and #2 is deploy the tear gas.
He also noted that law enforcement was not happy that they had been given the stand-down order while the looting was going on, and instead had to stand there and get pelted with rocks, and bottles.
Vittert said “a lot of officers were injured and they weren’t allowed to respond. They’re also upset and they’re really down and frustrated that the mayor seems to be writing this off.” He added that “she doesn’t seem to understand the severity of putting her officers in harm’s way, then doesn’t seem to take responsibility for it, and then throws them under the bus.”
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported a game-changing bombshell Wednesday night:
A prisoner sharing a police transport van with Freddie Gray told investigators that he could hear Gray “banging against the walls” of the vehicle and believed that he “was intentionally trying to injure himself,” according to a police document obtained by The Washington Post.