The Rev. Al Sharpton spoke with MSNBC host Jose Diaz-Balart on Tuesday morning and noted the importance of maintaining order and avoiding recklessness in Baltimore while also defending the city’s mayor.
Sharpton spoke to Diaz-Balart en route to Baltimore, where the civil rights activist was set to meet with leaders and protestors who sought answers about Freddie Gray’s death, which occurred while he was in police custody.
“There is no excuse or no way we can condone recklessness and violence,” Sharpton said.
He stressed the importance of helping to “restore order” while also addressing the “underlying problem” and pointed out that violence and riots are “counterproductive.”
“Because now the story becomes your recklessness, your violence, not justice for a young man that we can’t explain how he got in police custody,” Sharpton said. “You get in the way of your own message. … You end up aiding and abetting those that want to see you ignored and want to dismiss you as thugs and hoodlums and say ‘Oh, the police have to do this because look how you behave.'”
Sharpton insisted that “you’ve got to have order” in order to bring about change and honor Freddie Gray.
He also responded to criticism Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake received for her handling of the unfurling violence in Baltimore.
“It’s easy to take shots at this mayor,” Sharpton said. “It’s easy to beat up on this woman. The fact of the matter is, she’s right. We don’t know what she knows. We don’t know what she’s dealing with. And we need to help her to restore the situation.”
Ahiza Garcia is a newswriter based in New York City. Before joining TPM, Ahiza interned and freelanced for Nightline, Fox Sports, and ESPN the Magazine. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Columbia University and an M.S. in digital journalism from Syracuse University. She can be reached at email@example.com.