On Wednesday, the Baltimore police union issued a statement likening the protests over the death of Freddie Gray, who died Sunday after suffering a broken neck while in police custody, to a “lynch mob.”
“While we appreciate the right of our citizens to protest and applaud the fact that, to date, the protests have been peaceful, we are very concerned about the rhetoric of the protests. In fact, the images seen on television look and sound much like a lynch mob in that they are calling for the immediate imprisonment of these officers without them ever receiving the due process that is the constitutional right of every citizen, including law enforcement officers.”
“We’ve been the victims of the lynching and now we’re the lynch mob?” William “Billy” Murphy said.“The president of the police union called peaceful protests and the anger at the death of a man to severe and unfathomable injuries while in police custody a lynch mob? It doesn’t get more insensitive or insulting than that. These remarks illustrate why black people and the police don’t get along.”
At a press conference later Wednesday, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3 president Gene Ryan seemed to kind of grasp the stupidity of the comparison. “Maybe I need to reword that,” he said.
Protests are expected to continue in Baltimore today. Meanwhile, five of the six police officers involved in Gray’s arrest have given statements to police, though no details from their accounts have been released to the press.