Interviews

Protesters throwing rocks, bottles at police in Baltimore

Dr. Alveda King, Sheriff David Clarke weigh in

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 27, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, we're showing you the scene earlier today, when this police squad car was attacked by protesters.

There was no officer in that. So, I misspoke. I apologize for that. There have been follow-up attacks on other police vehicles throughout the region as well, but what is now about an eight-block region that I'm told has grown to some 25 blocks.

But we do know that light rail and buses into the downtown Baltimore area have been canceled going in and out and that highway routes 83 and 395 into the city have since been closed, that the University of Maryland at Baltimore has stopped running, is not -- its doors are no longer open for business, the same with T. Rowe Price and a host of other businesses in the area that have decided the better part of valor is to shut down.

Bo Dietl, the former New York City police detective, on the phone with us right now.

All right, Bo, you're the police guy on the scene in the middle of all of this. They're throwing rocks at you. They're turning squads cars upside down. What do you do?

BO DIETL, CHAIRMAN & CEO, BEAU DIETL AND ASSOCIATES: Well, the most important thing you have to realize too is Saturday night -- I saw video from Saturday night outside the ballpark, where they were looting stores. They destroyed about six police cars then, smashing the windows and all that

You saw what you're dealing with then. They should have been a little bit more prepared today for the fact that they knew that it was still going to come. When you get a crowd like this, you get bravery with numbers. You have to disperse these crowds immediately.

You must use tear gas and disperse them. Once you disperse them, these tough guys become the little boys that they are, and they don't have the toughness. They have toughness when they're in a gang. The most important thing is, you can't let them get together and keep that gang together, because that's when the bravery comes out.

You much disperse them right away. And when the mayor came out with that statement about let them destroy things and give them some -- an opportunity to destroy things, that was a wrong precedent. And now some of those guys are out there and they know the cops are not going to arrest them, so they're doing what they can.

CAVUTO: Well, that's coming right from the mayor, right, Bo?

DIETL: Right.

CAVUTO: Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had put out an urging that give space for those who want to protest.

DIETL: No, she actually said -- no, she actually said, give them space so they could...

CAVUTO: Destroy. I should say destroy.

DIETL: Destroy is the word she used.

Now, what they have done is, they have given that precedent now. The word goes out on the street, we're not going to get arrested.

Now, all of a sudden, these kids by themselves who are not tough guys, when they get into a gang, they become a gang tough. And you have to disperse that right away. And this thing could get really ugly. And you know what is going to end up happening?

When you're throwing those rocks at those cops there, that cop that is not responsive, that cop could be in a coma. We know what it is. They're using deadly physical force against those cops. I'm sorry to say it -- and I don't want to say it -- but the word should go out on the street, if they're going to assault cops and try to kill them, the cops will use deadly physical force and do what they have to do to bring peace back to that community.

And the people that live there, they're the people that are suffering right now. They can't go out of their houses. The cops are there for one reason, to get peace and bring calm back into that community. If the cops were wrong and that guy was killed by the cops, then the law and order, the trial, the courts will prevail.

But you can't get any kind of justice by doing these animalistic things. And this if savagery there. And that's all I can say. These are animals, the way they're acting.

CAVUTO: All right. We were showing the police coming up with these handcuff-like devices, getting them ready to take in obviously a number of protesters on the scene. It looked like they were making them by the dozens, maybe more than that.

We're just looking at one area.

But, Alveda, obviously, things escalate.

DR. ALVEDA KING, NIECE OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: It is escalating because the mayor, the figure of authority, said it's OK. We're going to...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Has she dialed it back since? I haven't heard anything since.

KING: I have not heard it. I have been checking really all the way through to make sure to try to interpret what that meant.

CAVUTO: Right.

KING: But if you say we're going to give you room to destroy, then that's exactly what they're doing. And that's the message that these kids got.

CAVUTO: It sounded like she said she wanted to let them vent, not knowing that, by letting them vent, that's a license to do...

KING: It's not only a license, but look how expensive it is, the police cars damaged, police officers harmed.

The young people are there and are just totally lawless right now. The people in the community can't leave their houses.

CAVUTO: So, do you agree with that reverend who said, these children don't realize how dangerous things can be?

KING: They don't. They are clueless. They don't know.

CAVUTO: So, what's driving them?

KING: I don't -- I believe there's some outside agitators, as I'm watching that, and that is inciting that riot, because young people are emotional. And someone is stirring that up and firing it up.

CAVUTO: Well, it might have been the mayor. And I have been quoting her a good deal.

But this is from the mayor herself earlier talking about the day and what was an opportunity for protesters to essentially vent. This is the mayor of Baltimore on some recommendations for protesters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, D-MAYOR OF BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: We tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on. We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: What do you think of that, Alveda?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: I'm watching the mayor. I'm listening to the mayor.

And for those who wish to destroy, we need to give them space. Here I am again. I'm a mother and a grandmother. I'm not giving my kids room to destroy the house. No. You live here. I'm paying the bills. You're going to follow the laws. And now they're adults and they're children.

You -- these are -- who is the officer who was just on and said they are little boys and you need to get them back to that state and break the gang up? Who was just -- who were just speaking to?

DIETL: Bo Dietl.

CAVUTO: That was Bo Dietl.

KING: Hi, Bo.

You were so right about that. The authority must now stand, not in a violent way, not in a hurtful way. We don't expect the officers to really hurt those young people, necessarily, but they can be stopped. And they must be stopped. I do agree with that.

CAVUTO: You know, Bo, while Alveda was mentioning that, we were talking about the role social media has played in this and outside groups have played in this.

We don't how much of a role, but we see smoke from the area of a building. We have been told that the police are going to use tear gas and anything they can get their hands on to quell this.

But, Bo, what do you make of that, the influence of outside groups agitating these kids in an environment where unemployment is high, frustration is high, anger is high?

DIETL: Well, I was watching the videos from Saturday night, and it was the usual suspects, the ones that come in New York here. The agitators were there.

And I saw -- and I will -- it's just funny to see these white guys, that's all I got to say, 6-foot-tall white guys with bandanas over their face, trying to hide their faces. What are they doing there? They're doing one thing. They're trying to stir up those young kids over there and make it like it's right.

(CROSSTALK)

DIETL: And on top of it, when then Bloods and the Crips come out, and now, all of a sudden, do we remember where that creep came from that killed our two New York City cops? Came from Baltimore.

Now we are giving him another signal that it's OK to go kill some cops now, because it's justice, and you're taking justice, like that idiot that came from Baltimore who we wouldn't repeat his name, who assassinated these young cops here in New York. I just pray to God that this doesn't happen in Baltimore.

KING: Bo -- Bo, do the parents understand that, how dangerous the environment is for their children?

Parents, if you have got some kids out there, or grandparents, you need to get them off the street right away.

DIETL: You better -- you better get on your cell phone.

KING: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

DIETL: Because every one of these kids today has a cell phone. And you tell them to get their butts back into the house.

KING: That's what you need to do.

DIETL: Because, right now, those kids not knowing what they're doing, and someone is going to get hurt really bad or maybe someone else is going get killed.

These young kids have got to get home.

KING: They need to go home.

DIETL: And their parents should be out there grabbing them by their ear and pull them back into the house.

KING: Yes.

CAVUTO: All right.

By the way, the precipitant for a lot of this today was the funeral this morning of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old African-American male who was taken by police into custody and died in custody. His spine was broken.

Police have still not detailed how that happened, why that happened, or, for example, why that young man was arrested and the fact that in this vacuum, we have the those protests, some have said that's no surprise, that it just added to the angst. So, it's very hard to say. There's really no excuse for violence begetting violence.

Sergeant Ed Mullins of the New York City Sergeants Benevolent Association with us right now.

Sergeant, do you think in that vacuum that it just -- it fed this, and that police should have either come out with a timeline or an explanation as to what happened to Freddie Gray and why, or something, rather than just nothing?

SGT. ED MULLINS, NEW YORK CITY SERGEANTS BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION: Yes, I agree.

I think you have to come out with some kind of information. Lack of information indicates or at least creates the perception that something is being covered up and you lose public trust. In South Carolina, they came out right away. They did an investigation and the facts are clear.

Commissioner Kelly in the past has had a history of coming out right away, and almost to a fault at times, where it backfired on him. But he was able to keep community unrest from happening. So it's important to establish trust and, you know, try to prevent what we are watching from happening.

CAVUTO: You know, Alveda, you hear this, and I'm sure you growing up and your dad and your uncle Martin Luther King, that they would always say -- and I'm quasi-quoting your uncle, so forgive me if I got it wrong -- be provocative, but don't provoke.

That's very hard in the real, live, fiery, smoky, middle of battle situation, isn't it?

KING: Sergeant Mullins, hello.

MULLINS: How you doing?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Sergeant Mullins and my cousin Bernice King and I, we talked about all of these things.

And it's very difficult right in the middle of the heat of the fire. But I will be very honest with you. My heart sank when I heard about this most recent incident and the funeral and the family. We don't know what happened. So, I'm not going to rush to judgment.

CAVUTO: Absolutely.

KING: But it's heartbreaking.

And with leadership, with responsibility, with clear thinking, and all of the law enforcement people and the judge, everybody that you have had us hear today, they are very clear-thinking individuals. And they know how to make the world a better place. It's very good advice that they are giving today.

And so my uncle, if he were here, if my dad, A.D., were here, he would say, don't riot. Go home and pray. They would both say that. That would be their answer.

And there's a difference between a rioter and a demonstrator. A boycotter may say, I'm not going to shop at your store, but he or she is not going to pick up a firebomb and throw it through the window. So, we need to know the difference between the individuals.

I see a car burning right there on the screen.

CAVUTO: Yes, that's a police vehicle.

KING: That's wrong. That's just absolutely wrong.

CAVUTO: And you think, as you were mentioning, Alveda, all the businesses that have either had to scale back or shut down today, and this is a blighted community, at least for young African-American males, unemployment that is much higher than the national average.

And it reminds me, Bo Dietl, when you look at situations like this, whether the situation becomes even worse, and as these arrests build up -- and we will see many, many of them there -- the police are going to have a no- nonsense, no-debating policy with this, a little late in the eyes of some, but what do you make of this?

DIETL: Neil -- Neil, you know what? The nightfall is coming. It's very soon. They have got to break this up now, because when nightfall comes, then all of a sudden now you can hide with the darkness of night.

They have to disperse this. They have got to separate those crews. They have to have these cops. And they should bring in the state troopers. And you know what? They should bring the National Guard for dispersement and get these crowds off the street, get these kids back into their houses before something more serious happens.

CAVUTO: Well, what do you think happens then if they don't do that? Then, by nightfall, what happens?

(CROSSTALK)

DIETL: It's going to get worse at nighttime, because are watching these videos and they're watching their friends get on television. And they all want to be part of this.

It's like a big game out there. It's like the bazaar is going on. Let's see what I can do, the worst thing that I can do. Kick the front tires of a cop car. Jump on the hood and smash the windshield. Did you see what I just did?

Because they're seeing it on television right now.

CAVUTO: Right.

KING: I'm seeing some arrests, Neil.

CAVUTO: Yes, quite a few now. And we saw them making those.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: That's not good. See, when you're arrested, that's different.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Yes. They are making those temporary handcuffs to bring them into custody. We're told that is happening.

Sheriff Clarke, if you're still with me, we're also getting reports that the FBI's office is working closely with the Baltimore Police Department. How does that go down? And who calls the shots, no pun intended, in that event?

DAVID CLARKE, MILWAUKEE COUNTY, WISCONSIN, SHERIFF: Well, if the FBI is involved, then I guess that's a decision they get to make, but they ought to keep their powder dry at first and let the local officials do their investigations.

When you have simultaneous or parallel investigations, sometimes signals can get lost. But looking at the photos of that squad car on fire there, it's very disheartening to the men and women who put this uniform on every day. I question why those vehicles were in a location that could be attacked like that.

That's one of the first things that we do. We had a situation similar to that in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in December. It didn't turn into a full- blown riot. But one of my first orders was to protect government property, protect police Property. I didn't want any scenes on TV of a squad car being turned on its side or set on fire like that.

Not real satisfying to officers to watch that or the American public at large that is watching this and wondering, does anybody there have a handle on this thing? Are they going to be able to get their arms around this thing?

The people of Baltimore need confidence that their officials -- and I don't mean the police on the street -- I'm talking about the city officials -- are going to be able to get this thing under control.

We hear so much about First Amendment right to protest. This isn't peaceful protests. There are also First Amendment rights for business owners. What about the businesses that have to shut down? What about the game that was supposed to go on tonight?

CAVUTO: That's a very good point. Those people have rights too.

CLARKE: Those people have constitutional rights, too.

CAVUTO: Yes.

CLARKE: And they need to be protected as well. There's a balance here, but we always hear about the right to protest.

DIETL: You think that they are going to go to the game tonight, Neil? Do you think you would go to the game tonight with this going on?

CAVUTO: Yes, if there is even a game tonight.

DIETL: Right.

CAVUTO: Alveda, I'm watching this, and I'm seeing some of these shots of these kids. Some look no older than my 12- and 13-year-old boys, if younger.

KING: My heart is breaking on that.

And I'm wondering. Now, somebody else on the show can help me with this question, maybe the judge or somebody. So, a school superintendent -- can police officers go to assemblies at the schools and talk to the young children at the school in an assembly and explain what the job of the police department is, and, as you have been talking, Sheriff, chief about this?

So the public needs to be aware. The young people need to have someone in authority explaining to them the process and why they are there in a nonadversarial role, because I'm seeing these children getting drug off to jail now, some of them.

CAVUTO: Yes.

KING: And that -- that should not have been the initial objective.

CAVUTO: And how do you explain to their friends and buddies why that is happening, you know?

KING: Yes.

And now they are going to say, the cops hate me. No, the cops -- the police officers do not hate you. They are there to protect you. But you're not helping them, young people.

CAVUTO: But it doesn't seem logic is prevailing here, Bo Dietl.

And rMD+IT_rMD-IT_I -- how do you deal with that when people are so hot and bothered and in the middle of the moment and angry that they are not listening to reason and they're not letting to these prayerful, thoughtful discussions? They are just angry.

DIETL: I said it from the beginning. When we had the blackout of '77 here in New York, people were just looting all the stores.

The most important thing that we did was respond immediately and break up the crowds, because, all of a sudden, once you break up the crowds, you individualize them, and then they are not so brave. Then they are not going to be throwing those rocks.

What hurt me inside was seeing those boulders going at those cops. And I saw some of those cops getting hit in the knees and in the side of the head even with the helmets on. And some of those cops, I'm sure, have some serious injuries. And there's no reason in the world for those officers to be subjected to this.

CAVUTO: All right.

KING: And all officers are not bad, Neil.

CAVUTO: No, they are not. No, they are not, as are all protesters not bad.

KING: No.

CAVUTO: So, Sheriff, three hours away until darkness, what do they have got to do in the meantime?

CLARKE: Well, if I were the mayor of Baltimore right now, I would have the National Guard not only on standby, but ready to deploy, if for no other reason to put a perimeter around that area to not let the protesters in to do any more damage.

You have a right the protest, but you don't have the right to do it in a certain spot where a riot could break out. So, it's a balancing test that has to be met there.

CAVUTO: All right.

CLARKE: But I would have them out.

Right now, you can't worry about the optics of the situation. You can't worry that it might not be palatable to some people. You have to restore order for the law-abiding people and for the officers' safety in the city of Baltimore.

CAVUTO: I want to thank everybody, Sheriff and Bo and Alveda King, a voice of reason and calm to maybe unite both sides and let cooler, calmer heads prevail.

But it's still early. And night is still ahead of us.

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