“Space to Destroy”: The Shocking Police Order That the Mayor Never Gave

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Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

When Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake gave a press conference Saturday about the Freddie Gray protests she said something that seemed too outrageous to believe. Unfortunately, everyone believed it anyway.

“It’s a very delicate balancing act,” she said, regarding the police presence at the protests. “Because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate.”

The misreading of that quote, that Rawlings-Blake had strategically decided to give “those who wished to destroy space to do that,” quickly went viral. The Blaze and Rush Limbaugh did exactly what The Blaze and Rush Limbaugh do when they get something that juicy.

As Bloomberg.com pointed out, even Fusion got the meaning wrong and ran with it.

Rawlings-Blake later clarified on Twitter:

Not long after though, she sent another message that could easily be taken two ways:

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  1. Really? So how do you interpret what she said? Politicians are great at “clarifying” their remarks after they get a negative response. I think that she said what she meant the first time. Unfortunately for Baltimore, her words matched her actions.

    • I’m not defending Rawlings-Blake’s actions re the protest. But when I look back on what she said, it is hard to take it any way other than what she says she meant: that while the city wanted to make space for protesters, that inherently risks making space for the destruction of property.

      If she’s saying that she is trying to let people protest AND let them destroy property, then the next sentence about “balance” doesn’t make any sense. The “balance” can only be between letting people protest and keeping people from destroying property. If you are deliberately facilitating both of those things, then what’s the “delicate balancing act”?

      Also, let’s say that she actually did instruct police to allow people to destroy property. Can you really imagine her saying so, and so nonchalantly, in a public statement?

  2. The Mayor SHOULD have known better! At the time, things were becoming tense & she simply chose a very BAD way to phrase what she was trying to say. She should have immediately stopped & re-phrased her thoughts. The way it was interpreted had NOTHING to do w/Rush Limbaugh or anyone else. EVERYONE interpreted her the same way….it sounded as if she was allowing “thugs” to destroy property. As a seasoned politician, bottom line is……she should have known better!!

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