The President of the United States on Tuesday called the roving gangs protesters looting and setting fire to the city of Baltimore “thugs” and “criminals.”
“There is no excuse for the kind of violence we saw,” Obama said at the White House, just 40 miles from the troubled Maryland city.
It’s fine to march and protest the death of Freddie Gray, he said of the 25-year-old black Baltimore man who died of a major spinal cord injury he suffered in a fight with cops.
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It’s not okay, he added, to grab a crowbar and loot.
“They’re not protesting, they’re not making a statement, they’re stealing,” Obama said.
And it makes it harder, he said, to address concerns about police relations with communities of color.
“There are some police who are not doing the right thing,” Obama said.
“We have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions. It comes up, it seems like, once a week now.”
The shell shocked mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, also labeled out-of-control protesters as thugs.
Obama’s new U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is investigating Gray’s death. The six cops involved in the incident have been suspended.
John A. Oswald is Metro.US Editor-at-Large. Follow him on Twitter -@nyc_oz