The Baltimore mom caught on video smacking her son for participating in last year’s protests says she would do it all over again, but with one caveat.
“I wouldn’t have used so much foul language,” Toya Graham told INSIDE EDITION. “But everything else, when it came down to my son and getting him out from down there, I would have did the same thing.”
One year later, Graham and her son, Michael, have made some life-changing decisions since the riots that followed Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody.
Michael, 16, is enrolled in a Job Corps program to learn how to be an electrician – a vocation both hope will spare him the mean streets of Baltimore.
“I watch mothers on the TV begging for answers (to) why their sons are being killed and I just don’t want to be that mother,” Graham said.
Her son said he understands why his mother dragged him away from last year’s violence and smacked him repeatedly while television cameras rolled.
She loves him. And he loves her, he said.
More than 200 people were arrested during last April’s days of rage. Otis Knight watched as his convenience store was looted and burned.
He has since rebuilt his business. Asked if he recognized any of the looters, Knight replied “No comment.”
He doesn’t dwell on such questions, he said. “Things happen in life. What you gonna do? Nobody got physically hurt.”
Baltimore Police Det. Donny Moses said he and his colleagues are trying to repair the relationship between cops and citizens that broke down after Gray’s death.
“It’s something that has to happen, with one officer at a time, one citizen at a time,” he said.
“Everywhere I go, people want to see cops on the beat,” he said. “That’s something we’ve devoted a lot of time to. So that what happened last April and May won’t happen again.”