The attorney for the family of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man who died while in police custody, is demanding an apology from the city’s police union president after he compared protestors to a “lynch mob.” Overall the protests in and around the city have largely been peaceful, hence why the comparison drew as much ire as it did.
Gene Ryan, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3, spoke at a press conference flanked by an attorney representing the union, Michael Davey, and Black Baltimore Police Lieutenant Kenneth Butler. The Baltimore Sun reported on the conference and the ensuing comments, which highlights the explosive nature of the case in light of similar recent incidents.
The Baltimore Sun writes:
“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,” Ryan said in a statement.
William “Billy” Murphy, the attorney for the Gray family, said he could not fathom that the Baltimore police union could ever liken protesters to a “lynch mob” when police have a history in America of lynching black people.
“We’ve been the victims of the lynching and now we’re the lynch mob?” he asked. “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.”
Murphy called for “an immediate apology and a retraction.”
Murphy continued saying that Ryan’s apology needs to be expedient and that the focus should be on how Gray suffered a spinal cord injury and broken neck during his arrest.
Ryan has not responded to Murphy’s demands.
Watch a portion of the Fraternal Order Of Police news conference regarding the death of Freddie Gray below.