The Baltimore riots following Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody have resulted in 235 arrests, 34 of which were juveniles. While police were unable to prevent the high school students from rioting, one mother took matters into her own hands.
Toya Graham, a Baltimore resident who has one son, was caught on camera repeatedly smacking her son after she saw him throwing objects at police during the riots. She told CBS News that she was simply trying to protect her son.
“He gave me eye contact. And at that point, you know, not even thinking about cameras or anything like that. That's my only son and at the end of the day I don't want him to be a Freddie Gray,” she explained.
Baltimore residents have been protesting since Freddie Gray died from injuries while in police custody on April 19. However, the protests turned to riots after Gray’s funeral on April 27. According to CBS News, at least 20 police officers were injured during the violence.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan activated the National Guard to help restore order to the city. A curfew has also been installed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
After Monday night’s violence, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts addressed the media, citing the video of Toya Graham chastising her son.
"I wish I had more parents who took charge of their kids tonight," he told reporters.
Batt also explained that most of the violence was being carried out by high school students.
"These are Baltimore youthful residents, a number of them came right out of the local high schools there on the other side of Mondawmin and started engaging in this," he described.
According to the New York Times, the age of the rioters came as a surprise to police at first. Baltimore Police Department Captain J. Eric Kowalczyk explained, “When we deployed our officers yesterday, we were deploying for a high school event. I don’t think there’s anyone that would expect us to deploy with automatic weapons and armored vehicles for 13- 14- and 15-year-olds.”