Despite a firm denial by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a senior law enforcement source charges that she gave an order for police to stand down as riots broke out Monday night, raising more questions about whether some of the violence and looting could have been prevented.
The source, who is involved in the enforcement efforts, confirmed to Fox News there was a direct order from the mayor to her police chief Monday night, effectively tying the hands of officers as they were pelted with rocks and bottles.
Asked directly if the mayor was the one who gave that order, the source said: “You are God damn right it was.”
The claim follows criticism of the mayor for, over the weekend, saying they were giving space to those who “wished to destroy.”
By Tuesday night, despite the chaos a day earlier, Baltimore police along with the National Guard and other law enforcement contingents seemed to be restoring order in the city, which was under a curfew overnight.
Rawlings-Blake has defended her handling of the unrest, which grew out of protests over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.
The mayor, in an interview with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer on Tuesday, denied any order was issued to hold back on Monday.
“You have to understand, it is not holding back. It is responding appropriately,” she said, saying there was no stand-down directive.
She said her critics have a right to their opinion.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday suggested the mayor also waited too long to request a state of emergency.
Read more: Fox News