Rachel Maddow: Baltimore Police ‘A Little Out of Control’ During Riots

During the 9:00 hour of MSNBC’s live coverage of the ongoing Baltimore riots on Monday night, Rachel Maddow accused the city’s police of being “a little out of control” for returning items being thrown at them by protestors. 

Maddow spoke to Erica Green of the Baltimore Sun who described how after one officer was struck with an object “the police began to return the bricks. Of course, I did not see exactly what he was hit with, but I mean, bricks and glass littered the streets.” 

Maddow then called the report of cops defending themselves from attack “striking” before she suggested their actions were “out of control”:

The police have talked about the fact that they are willing to be tactically very aggressive as the situation stays out of control. They’re willing to use pepper pellets, they're willing to use rubber bullets and other projectiles. We've seen them using gas today. But if they're picking up things that are being thrown at them and throwing things back, that implies to me just as a lay observer that the police feel -- that the police are a little out of control, or they may not be necessarily using disciplined police tactics.

For her part, Ms. Green pushed back at Maddow's anti-police language and described the officers as incredibly calm despite having bricks and rock hurled at them: 

What I watched the police have things hurled at them for a very long time, and they didn't do anything. I mean, I have it on video. They definitely returned, you know, they definitely threw things back. But I just would say that given what I saw, I mean, these kids have no fear. So, you know, I was very surprised that things didn't escalate more quickly.

Rather than simply editorialize as Maddow eagerly did, the Baltimore Sun reporter refused to label the Baltimore police as being “out of control” and instead educated the liberal MSNBCer about the actual facts on the ground: 

But I'm not going to say they're out of control, that's for people to decide. But I will say that, you know, things were thrown at them for a very long time before they seemed to have gotten frustrated. And I think it may have been the sight of their fellow officer being pulled out that way that may have incited that. I don't know but that definitely happened. 

See relevant transcript below. 

MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show

April 27, 2015

RACHEL MADDOW: Let me just ask you about that for a second because I know you were right there on the front lines when that was happening. 

ERICA GREEN: I was right there. 

MADDOW: And I saw some of what you posted at the Sun and the Sun has made great use of your reporting and your imagery.  But just to be clear, what you saw was people throwing, mostly young people, throwing bricks and broken bricks and rocks at police, and in some cases police throwing them back at the protesters. But this officer who you saw injured, it looked like he was struck in the head. Did you actually see him get injured or just the aftermath once he was already hurt? 

GREEN: It looks like he was struck in the head. What I captured was his comrades carrying him back away from the front line where I assume he was when he was struck. And it was on that side street, and right before the officer was brought out that the police began to return the bricks. Of course, I did not see exactly what he was hit with, but I mean, bricks and glass littered the streets. And so, yeah, I'm going to assume it was brick. I don’t know for sure but he was struck by something that really bloodied him up from his head. 

MADDOW: What's striking about that report, particularly because you saw it firsthand as a reporter, is that you don't expect police to be throwing bricks. The police have talked about the fact that they are willing to be tactically very aggressive as the situation stays out of control.

They’re willing to use pepper pellets, they're willing to use rubber bullets and other projectiles. We've seen them using gas today. But if they're picking up things that are being thrown at them and throwing things back, that implies to me just as a lay observer that the police feel -- that the police are a little out of control, or they may not be necessarily using disciplined police tactics. Was that the perspective? 

GREEN: What I will say is that I watched the police and this is just what I saw, right? What I watched the police have things hurled at them for a very long time, and they didn't do anything. I mean, I have it on video. They definitely returned, you know, they definitely threw things back. But I just would say that given what I saw, I mean, these kids have no fear.

So, you know, I was very surprised that things didn't escalate more quickly. But I'm not going to say they're out of control, that's for people to decide. But I will say that, you know, things were thrown at them for a very long time before they seemed to have gotten frustrated. And I think it may have been the sight of their fellow officer being pulled out that way that may have incited that. I don't know but that definitely happened. 

HT: Truth Revolt

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