Did Baltimore’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake call for a State of Emergency in the city of Baltimore early enough? As the world now knows, riots broke out last night after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore man who was gravely injured in police custody and then died.
Tom Joyner: Good morning, Don.
Don Lemon: It was a very long night for the people of Baltimore last night. Protestors are scheduled to march and they are concerned about unrest. The city is still under a state of emergency. They are talking about the Mayor and the Governor, wondering if they declared a state of emergency early enough. The governor told me on CNN that the papers for a state of emergency were ready to be signed as early as Saturday but he did not hear from the Mayor until yesterday. He said he is moving his headquarters from Annapolis to to Baltimore until this is done.
CNN Audio: Governor Larry Hogan: This is not going to continue. People will feel that the city’s safe. I’m moving the governor’s office to Baltimore city, We’re bringing our cabinet and all our assets. We’re going to get this under control. The city will be safe and Marylanders will be proud of the effort once we get this cleaned up.
Don Lemon: The Mayor says that she didn’t want to have officers in full militarized gear because she saw what happened in Ferguson and in other cities and she didn’t want to escalate tensions. She made the call, it might not have been the right one, but she explained her actions. And now here we are, on the same day yesterday as the funeral for Freddie Gray, all this unraveled.
Sybil Wilkes: Did she say why she didn’t call a curfew for last night when tensions were at its height?
Don Lemon: She tried to explain it, but I didn’t understand her reasoning. Even longtime residents were concerned about that. The police were concerned about that. My colleague, Chris Cuomo, saw confrontations between police and young people on the street. They would tell them they needed to get home and they would get into officer’s faces and say ‘No we don’t’ because the curfew isn’t until tomorrow. She said she needed to notify people to give them enough time to know they needed to be off the streets, because in her estimation that would be lawful and that would be right. I don’t know why she did it, but that was her explanation.
Tom Joyner: The church with the low-cost housing – 60 units – that was almost completed. Why’d they burn that?
Don Lemon: Everyone knows there are issues here in Baltimore and in many major cities when it comes to police officers and poverty and equal access, all of those things. People are frustrated. I think the people here who are legitimately protesting are frustrated that a young man is dead, needlessly so in their estimation, in everybody’s estimation, because of what happened, and they’re not getting any answers. I don’t know why they would do it, because that community needed that the most. According to one official here, they’ve set that community back at least 10 years. They don’t have the services anymore. They don’t have the businesses anymore. And those people need those services. And some people don’t have their homes because they’ve been burned out. They’re burning down the services they need for their neighborhood to recover.
Sybil Wilkes: What about provisions for kids with the school closed today and their parents are at work? They’re free to roam the streets.
Don Lemon: I don’t know if you saw my interview with the governor and the mayor last night and they got upset with me or they had somewhere to go, but they just left. I’m not upset with them. I know they’re dealing with other things. Some people wanted to know why the kids weren’t in school as they said that’s the best place for them. They did not want to answer the question. They said they did what they could when they could. I know that the governor showed up when the mayor was in the middle of a press conference. The mayor and governor barely looked at each other. I know the mayor was upset with the governor because she feel he threw her under the bus. By the time the cameras rolled and we were live, in my estimation, they feigned a sense of unity that wasn’t really there, it was politics. I don’t want to beat up on the mayor or the governor. I know it’s tough. This is an awful situation, but we’ve learned a lot from Ferguson and from Ohio, so when these things happen, we should be ready.
Sybil: But did we learn, though?
Don Lemon: We learned that you have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We know that there are people who are protestors that are out there that are doing it legitimately and peacefully, but the people who ultimately make things worse are the people who are not. In order to take care of those people, you may to do some things that you wouldn’t normally do. You may have to have more reinforcements in place. You may have to have people in full militarized gear, people who are prepared to handle the people who do not want to protest peacefully and have the people who want to rob liquor stores and pull out 40 ounces of beer in plastic bags. You have to be prepared for that and have those people out there and ready.
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