The Baltimore mother who was caught on video Monday, smacking her son after she watched him throwing things at police officers told CBS News that she was only concerned about protecting him.
“He gave me eye contact. And at that point, you know, not even thinking about cameras or anything like that. That’s my only son and at the end of the day I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray,” Toya Graham stated to reporters, in reference to the man whose death spurned the violent protests turned riots in her city.
She told CBS News that she jumped to action after spotting her 16-year-old son Michael wearing a hoodie and mask amid the protesters and just lost control; “At that point, I just lost it,” said Graham. “I was shocked, I was angry, because you never want to see your child out there doing that.”
Graham is a single mother with six children who publicly denounced the vandalism and violence against her city’s police officers. She told reporters that rioting is no way to get justice for Freddie Gray, and she definitely does not want that type of life for her children.
“There’s some days that I’ll shield him in the house just so he won’t go outside and I know that I can’t do that for the rest of my life,” said Graham. “I’m a no-tolerant mother. Everybody that knows me, know I don’t play that.”
Graham’s reputation is known throughout the neighborhood, and it was this reputation that made her son “duck and run” as soon as he laid eyes on his mother.
“He knew he was in trouble,” said Graham. “He said when ‘I seen you,’ he said, ‘ma, my instinct was to run.'”
She told reporters that after they got home, they sat and watched the news coverage of the riots and demonstrations on television, and as her reaction started to go viral on social media, her sons Facebook page started receiving comments, many of them in support of her actions.
Police Commissioner Batts stated late Monday night that he believed the bulk of the rioters who were throwing rocks and bricks at officers and inciting a massive display of looting and vandalism across parts of West Baltimore were area high schoolers.
“These are Baltimore youthful residents, a number of them came right out of the local high schools there on the other side of Mondawmin and started engaging in this,” said Batts. “I think these were youth coming out of the high school and they thought it was cute to throw cinder blocks at the police department and address it that way.”
We can only hope that more mothers will start taking this type of interest in the activities of their children, start questioning where they are going and what they are doing, in hopes that we can teach our younger generation the “right” way to voice our grievances. If you want your children to grow up responsible, law-abiding citizens you have to take an interest in their activities and make them accountable for their actions.
Sparing the rod and spoiling the child, will not a productive citizen make.