Baltimore mayor takes back 'thugs' remark

Baltimore's mayor is taking back her comments calling protestors in her city's streets "thugs."

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) tweeted on Wednesday that she wanted to clarify her comments, which were made after mass protests turned violent on Monday and resulted in the burning of buildings and cars.

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“When you speak out of frustration and anger, one can say things in a way that you don’t mean,” she wrote in a new message on Twitter.

“That night we saw misguided young people who need to be held accountable, but who also need support,” Rawlings-Blake concluded. “And my comments then didn’t convey that.”

Critics charged Rawlings-Black with insensitivity towards demonstrators when she called them “thugs.” She ordered a citywide curfew Monday evening amid growing violence.

President Obama on Tuesday echoed Rawlings-Blake’s remarks during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He called violent rioters “criminals and thugs” who were drowning out “legitimate” complaints over the city’s law enforcement.

“There is no excuse for the kind of violence we saw yesterday,” Obama argued.

“It is counterproductive,” he said. “They’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing.”

Baltimore police arrested 235 demonstrators during the riots that began Monday night and continued into the next morning. The city is now under curfew, 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., for the rest of the week.

Protests erupted on Saturday over the death of Freddie Gray earlier this month. Gray, a black man, died from a severe spinal injury sustained while in police custody.