Baltimore Police Rep Calls Freddie Gray Protesters A “Lynch Mob”
This past weekend, 25-year-old Freddie Gray died while in police custody. Though he was arrested without incident, for possession of an illegal switchblade, he suffered spinal and neck injuries at the hands of police while in the police van. The Department of Justice is currently investigating.
Now, as you might imagine, yet another black man dying at the hands of police officers did not exactly go over to well, and yes, there are protests. Instead of, oh, I don’t know, understanding why people might be a tad upset that police severed the spinal cord and broke the neck of a man in their custody, the Baltimore Police Union doubled down … and had the utter gall to call the protesters a “lynch mob” of all things.
From the official statement of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3, via The Baltimore Sun:
While we appreciate the right of our citizens to protest and applaud the fact that, to date, the protests have been peaceful, we are very concerned about the rhetoric of the protests. In fact, the images seen on television look and sound much like a lynch mob in that they are calling for the immediate imprisonment of these officers without them ever receiving the due process that is the constitutional right of every citizen, including law enforcement officers.
Unsurprisingly, this did not go over well with the people protesting. William Murphy, the attorney for the Gray family responded:
“We’ve been the victims of the lynching and now we’re the lynch mob?” he asked. “The president of the police union called peaceful protests and the anger at the death of a man to severe and unfathomable injuries while in police custody a lynch mob? It doesn’t get more insensitive or insulting than that. These remarks illustrate why black people and the police don’t get along.”
I don’t know who it is that is in charge of public relations down at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3, but they might want to look into letting someone else handle things. In a press conference later on Wednesday, the Lodge’s President acknowledged that “lynch mob” may not have been the best choice of words to use to describe this particular situation.