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.
Rawlings-Blake later clarified on Twitter:
I want to clarify some remarks being taken out of context: I did not instruct police to give space to protesters seeking to create violence
— Mayor Rawlings-Blake (@MayorSRB) April 27, 2015
In giving peaceful demonstrators room to share their message, unfortunately, those who seeking to incite violence also had space to operate. — Mayor Rawlings-Blake (@MayorSRB) April 27, 2015
Not long after though, she sent another message that could easily be taken two ways:
We will not let these deplorable and cowardly acts of violence ruin #OurCity.
— Mayor Rawlings-Blake (@MayorSRB) April 28, 2015