Before you judge the Baltimore protesters, read this Orioles executive’s defense

Police form a line during clashes with protesters near Mondawmin Mall after Freddie Gray’s funeral in Baltimore, Maryland.
Police form a line during clashes with protesters near Mondawmin Mall after Freddie Gray’s funeral in Baltimore, Maryland.
Image: Reuters/Sait Serkan Gurbuz
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On Apr. 19, Baltimore, Maryland resident Freddie Gray died from spinal injuries while in police custody, sparking a series of protests against police brutality, some of which have turned violent. On Apr. 22,  leading area sport-radio personality Brett Hollander took to Twitter to criticize the demonstrations. “Any really important message [coming] out of these protests is lost when the rest of the community is disrupted,” he wrote, lamenting traffic congestion and road blocks linked to unrest.

John Angelos, Chief Operating Officer of the Orioles, Baltimore’s major-league baseball franchise, responded with a thoughtful, literate defense of this ostensibly “lost message.” It rings especially true, now that a fresh bout of violence has broken out.

You can read the statement tweet-by-tweet on Angelos’s Twitter feed. Quartz has also transcribed it, in its entirety, below:

Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principal of peaceful, nonviolent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela, and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept.

Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage, and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle-class and working-class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the US to third-world dictatorships, like China and others; plunged tens of millions of good, hardworking Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil-rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government, pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards.

We need to keep in mind [that] people are suffering and dying around the US, and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic, civil, and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.