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STATE OF THE UNION
Baltimore City-Wide Curfew Lifted. Aired 12:00-12:10p
Aired May 3, 2015 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon. I'm Michael Smerconish in Baltimore.
Breaking news this hour. The mayor of Baltimore has just lifted a citywide curfew which had been in place since Tuesday night. I want to go straight to CNN's Renee Marsh.
RENEE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Michael, we did get this news from the mayor just a short time ago that that curfew 10:00 p.m. has been lifted. She said in part in a statement, "my goal has always been not to have the curfew in place a single day longer than was necessary." But of course we should point out she's been under tremendous pressure to lift this curfew.
People within the community saying it has made it very difficult for them to just live their everyday lives. And then of course there's the bottom line for businesses. Many of them saying that they've really been hit as far as the economic impact, because of this curfew.
She has faced some criticism even after she announced a short time ago that she is lifting this curfew for the city of Baltimore. Many people even on social media say the damage is already done, but the mayor is saying she wanted to assess because this was a public safety issue and what she wanted to make sure is that there was not this replay of what we saw last week with violence and the rioting.
And speaking of rioting, I am standing right in front of the Mondawmin Mall. And this essentially was ground zero for all that violence and rioting. Some of that happening right here. We had shattered glass. We had damage to buildings. Within -- damage to businesses within the building here. And we do know that in a matter of minutes the mayor will be showing up here to announce that the mall will be reopening. It has been closed for about a week.
Really a turning point here. Not only have we seen consecutive days of peaceful protests but just now getting this announcement the curfew has been lifted and now we're starting to see businesses affected by the looting, they're now starting to reopen.
SMERCONISH: Renee, thank you for that. Please stand by.
With me now Evan Perez, CNN's justice correspondent. Tom Fuentes, former FBI assistant director, and CNN correspondent, Nick Valencia. Nick, to you and to Evan in particular, I know you've been embedded in a way with the protest movement. What will be the reaction do you think to the lifting of the mall? Will that defuse the protest activities?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, I think - I think you will see -- definitely defuse the situation.
I think in the last couple of days certainly I think the curfew has been the cause of the protests over here on the town, on the city green. A lot of people were here on Friday night just protesting, chanting against the curfew when they were arrested and last night was the same thing. So, I think the curfew had gotten to the point where it was now causing some of the unrest.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And that was a big complaint among the demonstrators that we were with yesterday on North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. At one point about 9:00 p.m. Joseph Kent, a young man who was arrested on national television by the National Guard, led a group of about 100 demonstrators up North Avenue. At one point, Michael, he stops in the intersection and he says, "if you were not serious about what happens next, please leave." A couple people did peel off but to Evan's point it wasn't so much that they were demonstrating against the injustice of what was done to Freddie Gray as much as they were demonstrating saying we are grown adults, you cannot tell us to be out in the streets.
Of course we all saw what happens next. Perhaps the larger question is the National Guard presence. Will that imagery perpetuate or have the potential to perpetuate something more? Of course the same could be said about the media. Do our cameras being here, do they...
SMERCONISH: Good point.
VALENCIA: ...give potential to move, you know, to move this forward in a bad way? You know --
SMERCONISH: Tom, I've thought myself that the presence of the guard acts as a magnet of sorts. OK. So now there's no curfew, but they'll still be here presumably until Governor Hogan says they no longer need to be.
How do you read that?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it's a difficult choice, Michael. You have -- if you don't have the guard here and they're looting businesses, endangering lives, pelting police officers and firefighters with rocks, cutting fire hoses, that's a tremendous threat to national - I mean, well, national security, local security here in the community. You can't have that.
And so if the police, as the police admitted on Monday, we don't have the resources to handle this, then you call for backup. And in this case they had 1,000 or so more police officers from the state police and surrounding counties and the National Guard. And I think they were just making sure, especially when they hear that more and more people from out of town are going to be coming in Friday and yesterday, and that created a fear on the authorities' part here that we need to be - we need to be extra safe, not less safe.
[12:05:04] SMERCONISH: I think when they do the calculation the damage that's been done to the local economy is going to be staggering. I can tell you just going out to dinner last night I was told you need to order right now because we need to close, I think, it was 7:30, and the rationale was yes, but everybody who works here needs to get safely home before 10:00 p.m.
PEREZ: Yes. There's a restaurant just up the block, Miss Shirley's, which is well known, famous, people come from all over just to go there. Usually a line on a weekend, brunch. We walked in, nobody else was in there. It was, you know, very lightly -- light crowd. And you know, they were saying that the amount of money they're getting in is way down. Some of the hotels had 90 percent occupancy up to about Tuesday and they were down to 15 percent just in the last couple days. It's a --
VALENCIA: The economic effect of this will be a case study I'm sure in years ahead. Yesterday we had one of the biggest fights in box history, Manny Pacquiao against Floyd Mayweather. That was --
SMERCONISH: People couldn't go. . People could not go out.
VALENCIA: Right. The city shut down. And, you know, who knows? One local affiliate spoke to a business here, says they lost $10,000 last night. I'm sure other businesses could say that they over time have lost more.
SMERCONISH: Tom, it will be very interesting to see if public sentiment shifts should the protests continue because now the curfew's been lifted. If people come out on a Sunday night and things get out of hand I think there will be a changing tide in terms of how the public looks at this.
FUENTES: I think so. And one of the interesting things I saw last night was in Nick's reporting that when you had these white (ph) wild kids running around some of these buildings, anarchists, the local people wanted the police to get -- come here and deal with these kids and get them out of here. They don't belong in our neighborhood.
So, when you have the community trying to police itself with the help of the police that's a pretty significant step. I think, that was another aspect of the curfew. It was bringing in people who had no other intention to come here, no respect for Freddie Gray or anybody else, they only wanted to come here and tangle with the police and get themselves on television for doing it. We see that all over.
SMERCONISH: We'll see what happens tonight.
SMERCONISH: What's the latest if you're able to tell us relative to the investigation of the burning of the CVS? PEREZ: We know that the ATF is on the scene right now. They're
collecting evidence. They believe they're going to be able to solve these arsons.
A lot of these arsons were actually -- they were first looted stores. And especially the pharmacies. It was people who wanted to go in and steal the oxycontin, things they can resell on the streets. So that's part of the investigation as well. People who wanted to come in there just to try to get stuff that they can sell on the secondary market. And then they torched the stores to try to destroy evidence. I think the ATF and the local fire marshal think that they're going to be able to solve these fires.
VALENCIA: The human part to this is that was the only pharmacy this community had to go to. I was talking to a woman yesterday, Michael, and she was saying, I don't know where I'm going to go for my prescription medication. I need this medication for my diabetes. I don't know where I'm going to go.
The factor also at play is will investors come back to this community? Will they feel safe investing in this community, having seen what happened there?
SMERCONISH: Law enforcement have some tough calls to make as to whether they'll move forward with prosecution of the individuals that they have locked up in association with these protests.
FUENTES: You know, from a police standpoint cops hate this. You don't want to make an arrest on minor almost worthless charges like curfew because the reason is you have to put your hands on somebody. They might fall down and break their neck and now you're up to your -- you know, situation. Or if you pepper spray them they might have a heart condition or asthma and choke to death or have a heart attack and die. You don't want to mess with that.
If they're bank robbers, great. But if they're just curfew and wild kids that have come to town to cause trouble, you don't want to have to touch them.
SMERCONISH: Yes. Law enforcement has been put in a very awkward position with all the scrutiny that's been placed as a result of what happened to Freddie Gray and then having to provide some semblance of order for the protests that ensued.
PEREZ: And they were criticized because they held back on Monday when the first anarchy broke out. And so you can see that they feel like, you know, they're damned if they do and they're damned if they don't. And I get it. I get what the criticism is.
At the same time I think, you know, you do - you do become a magnet for some of this situation as Nick was saying. People coming into town simply because she see the guard presence, they see state police on the streets and they think this is something that they might be able to, you know, to challenge the order.
SMERCONISH: You would think that the guard would remain for at least another day to see what's the impact of the lifting of the curfew and then a decision would be made as to whether it's time for them to go as well?
VALENCIA: If there's any indication to the shift in attitude, the shift in perception here, for the first time in recent days on that corner, North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, where the CVS burned down, we did not see local police in riot gear. Now, that changed throughout the night as these demonstrators challenged the curfew, but we should be fair.
There was a jubilant attitude. Somewhat of a block party, if you will, at one point that changed as those agitators went forward with their purpose and cause.
[12:09:59] SMERCONISH: But that feeling remains. Thank you. Thank you, Renee Marsh, Evan Perez, Tom Fuentes, and Nick Valencia. We'll continue to monitor this breaking news. Don't go anywhere.
SMERCONISH: I'm Michael Smerconish. We're live in Baltimore, where the curfew has just been lifted.
I'm with Evan Perez, CNN's justice correspondent. CNN correspondent Nick Valencia and Tom Fuentes, former FBI assistant director.
Gentlemen, the "Baltimore Sun" had a report today on the front page which was really stunning. They had a reporter, Justin Fenton, who was inside the police investigation of what had just gone on relative to Freddie gray, monitoring the process. The takeaway was they were absolutely floored. They handed over their file on Thursday and then they were shocked as everyone else when Friday the announcement was made pertaining to the investigation and the charges.
PEREZ: This doesn't bode well for what comes after here in Baltimore.
SMERCONISH: How so?
PEREZ: Because you have a state prosecutor who floored everyone. She didn't tell the political leadership. And I guess that's appropriate. The police department, which as you said pointed out -- finished up their investigation on Thursday, handed it over to her, was absolutely floored. They had no idea that she was about to do a press conference and that she was going to announce charges against these six officers. She gave them about an hour notice before she went out there. And that is just simply a symptom perhaps of a bigger problem that they have there.
[12:15:17] SMERCONISH: Well, maybe the bigger problem is that that the left hand and the right hand just don't trust one another in this town and didn't feel comfortable bringing anybody into the loop.
PEREZ: Right. And that's remarkable because, you know, there is something wrong in this country where it does appear we repeatedly have police investigating themselves and find that they did nothing wrong. And there is -- that has sown a lot of distrust in minority communities and communities around the country.
So, perhaps something, you know, big needed to happen. Something -- a big change needed to happen. She certainly decided that this was the route she was going to take.
SMERCONISH: Tom, the actions that predicated the charges were largely things that the police did not do. In other words initially she said that this is an arrest that should not have been made. But then it's all about what law enforcement didn't do. They didn't respond to his pleas for assistance from a medical standpoint. And they didn't belt him in.
It occurred to me that those two events, not belting him in and not responding to his pleas for medical assistance, and I'm not defending, it but that probably goes on with some regularity. For example, I'm not sure that the guy who for a time period shared that van with Freddie Gray, I'm not so sure he was belted in at the time. I don't know if we know the answer to that question.
And you know, jailitis, is the term that was published today in the "Baltimore Sun" for someone who's been taken into custody and now claims that they need medical assistance.
FUENTES: Well, last month the rule to strap everybody in just went into effect, April.
FUENTES: So, that means that all previous arrests was pretty discretionary for the driver as to whether to do it or not.
If you have somebody that's bound at the hands, bound at the feet, not strapped in, I don't care if he drives five miles an hour. The passenger is not going to stay on that seat. You just can't. You're going to -- and then when he goes off, he's not going to be able to break the fall. It's going to be severe.
And I think that what you're talking about is yes, negligence and violating department rules. But it's a long step to saying they deliberately murdered him, they deliberately did this to him. And I think that, you know, there's a rule in investigations, when I was investigator and then running investigations, is you never form your theory what happened up front because subliminally, subconsciously, you will be ignoring evidence that contradicts your theory and finding everything that backs your theory up to do it. And I think from the beginning I don't think there's much question that there was pretty common thought here that these police killed him.
SMERCONISH: But not in a deliberate way. I mean, she didn't say that they intentionally took him on a rough ride. And not with any concerted -- never said that and not with any concerted activity because there's not a conspiracy charge here.
So, I think that the onus is on the prosecution to have to hold them individually accountable. From a causation standpoint I think that's going to be difficult. And my hunch is that it was - it was prosecuted or was about to be prosecuted in this way so as to get them to turn on one another.
FUENTES: There's another factor is that part of the crime scene was Freddie Gray's neck. And the surgeons that worked on him for a week to save his life basically had to remove tissue, move things around, get in there. So essentially they're witnesses now instead of the medical examiner of what was the condition of that neck, the cervical spine, the voice box when he was being treated at the hospital before he died and the body goes to the medical examiner's office. And that's going to be, I think, a very difficult thing.
And it's a rule in law enforcement, you'd like a pristine crime scene for the investigators. The crime scene investigators. The medical examiners. But if you can have the opportunity to save somebody's life, that comes first.
SMERCONISH: Nick, I've watched you for the last several nights, as has the rest of the country, walking along with the protesters. Is it enough for them that prosecutions are taking place and the system is now going to take over, or must they have convictions? Because I think what I'm saying and I think what Tom is saying is we're a long way from a conviction phase.
VALENCIA: The short answer is I'm not sure, and I don't think many of these demonstrators know the answer to that.
When I asked that question, do you think the worst has passed? Some said yes. Others said that things will always be tense. Even more said, though, that we need to get justice still.
These officers, remember, still have not been indicted. They've been charged but they have not formally been indicted. Now they wait for a trial. They wait to see if their pleas are met. If they find these officers guilty. I worry, Michael, that more will happen if the community here doesn't necessarily get what they want, and that's the conviction of all six officers.
SMERCONISH: You're pulling - you're pulling triple duty here now. We're hearing the church bells. What can we say it's live television.
What role will the justice department have, Evan, now that action has been taken on a local level?
[12:19:55] PEREZ: Well, you know, they've got a couple of different roles here. They first have to do -- they're doing what they call collaborative reform.
The mayor invited them into -- help fix the police department. That is a process that's already like six, seven months in progress.
And so we'll see whether or not there are any long-term reforms that they can carry out for this police department.
The second thing is they're doing an investigation of the Freddie Gray death. And we'll see whether they're able to bring any civil rights charges against these - against these officers. The issue is, you know, there's a little bit of less pressure, a release valve, that has now taken place because of these charges by the state prosecutor. As you know, the bar is pretty high to bring civil rights charges, federal civil rights charges in these types of cases.
SMERCONISH: I'll be anxious to see -- by the way, I had this happen this morning when we were here in the same spot. So, it will land in about two minutes, I think.
Tom Fuentes, at the outset of all of this, which has transpired in Baltimore, it seemed like the relationship between the governor and the mayor was not the best. There were questions raised as to whether he was waiting on her and whether he could find her. It will be interesting to see now that the curfew has been lifted whether they are working in concert with one another relative to the National Guard.
And specifically what I'm thinking of is should the mayor request that the National Guard now be removed, will he necessarily follow her lead?
FUENTES: I would think. If she makes the request, he can't afford to not follow the request.
But I was a little bit surprised, or maybe I should say a lot surprised as a viewer Monday, you know, when they started doing the after-action press conferences about the riot and you have who asked who and when, it almost gave the impression that, I let this mayor have it her way, which was too gentle, and we had a riot and the police couldn't stop it. Step aside. Get out of my way. I'm moving my office to Baltimore. I'm bringing in my troops, literally troops, combat veteran guardsmen along with the state police in the thousands. Get out of our way. We're going to secure Baltimore.
And that's what it looked like to me, is that conflict had come to the top.
SMERCONISH: Gentlemen, stick with us. I want to squeeze in a quick break because we're going to come back in a moment to Baltimore. We're awaiting a press conference from Baltimore's mayor. So, please stand by.
[12:25:07] STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE (D), MAYOR OF BALTIMORE: Not every store is ready to reopen but the majority of the store. And I had a tour of the mall -
SMERCONISH: We're taking you right now to the Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. She's speaking to the media outside the mall that was looted on Monday.
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: ...difference from where it was on Monday. I'm just so grateful because it shows the resiliency of our city.
I want to thank General Growth and all of the - all of the vendors who are here. You know, they want to stay here. They want to continue their investment. And I think this was a smart -- it's certainly a smart investment because this is a growing community.
Again, I want to thank all the members of the community who have come together to support Mondawmin Mall. I've been coming here since I was a child, taking my Christmas pictures with Santa, I think the Easter bunny. You can come up, General Growth, if you want to come up. Come on. You sure?
And this is just a great day for this community to have the mall reopened. Just a wonderful day.
I was proud to support the investment that -- I think it was the Baltimore Development Corporation made into this mall to do the major renovations and to see it bounce back so quickly. It gives me a lot of optimism about what's possible in the rebuilding. I'll open it up. I don't know if BDC wanted to say anything --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, ma'am.
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: All right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What was the difference between yesterday and today in your decision to lift the curfew?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: So yesterday we had some of the same outside protesters that we had on Saturday. When the peaceful protests turned into destruction. And we were very cautious that we were able to get through that night without having it turn into what happened last Saturday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The National Guard, the police presence, will they stay now? What about the National Guard and state troopers? What about them?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: So they unwind. They don't -- it's not like you flip a switch. You know, they have to unwind their operations. And they're going to do that over this next week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, they would be withdrawing basically over time?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Mm-hmm. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you concerned this might be premature on your part?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: You'll tell me that afterwards. You know, it will either be too long or too early. You'll let me know afterwards.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you talk about how confident you are right now? Can you talk about how confident you are right now in the state of affairs in Baltimore, in how peaceful it is, in the underlying unrest? What is your assessment right now of the state of affairs in Baltimore?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Right now I'm very confident. What we saw over the past few days is not just the resiliency of our city but also our communities coming together. We want to heal our city. We know we have challenges in Baltimore. We know that there's work to be done.
But what you saw in these last few days with the peaceful demonstrations and people coming together to celebrate Baltimore is that that we'll -- that we will get better, that we will get through this and we'll do it as one Baltimore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In (ph) terms (ph) of the unrest, what is your appraisal of the status of the unrest in Baltimore right now?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I think a lot of the unrest has been settled down in the sense of the protests but that doesn't mean the work doesn't continue.
We are actively engaging with the Department of Justice on collaborative review. We have been since last year in the process of improving our Police Department, reforming our Police Department, and putting in place things that will eliminate this type of incident, you know, from ever happening again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you elaborate on the role the faith leaders of the community have played only not only in rebuilding the city but in quelling much of the violence?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: There are -- words are insufficient to describe my gratitude to the faith community.
They have come out in unbelievable ways to not just support me, you know, in the physical sense of the city but to support me spiritually and to help us rebuild our community. When they were out there, you know, you saw the fire, you know, burning in east Baltimore. But when they were out there, it was the fire of their spirit and it was really energizing our community. And I cannot -- words are insufficient to describe my gratitude.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Mayor, what's your reaction to the criticism of your leadership during this crisis but also praise of the governor?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: That's your job, to react and respond to that. You know, I'm very focused --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I think I'm going to continue to be focused on rebuilding my city.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...about your conversation you had (INAUDIBLE)?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: They are optimistic. You know, they're excited about continuing their investment in Mondawmin.
This is a very successful mall. So to see that destruction that I saw when I toured on Tuesday, it was really -- it was - it was devastating to see that done to these vendors who have put so much money into this mall. But to see them back, I was just excited. And you know, they're optimistic moving forward that we'll never see anything like that again.
REPORTER: Outside groups, can you name specifically?
SMERCONISH: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaking to the media after lifting the curfew that's been in effect since last Tuesday. I'm sort of disappointed. As far as I could tell nobody asked about the presence of the guard.
I thought, Evan, perhaps someone would have said, is it time for them to leave?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Right. I think that's the thing when you walk around the city you see the guard. I mean, I have much respect to them. Certainly down by the east harbor, you have more guard than you have tourists, than you have people walking on the streets. And it is not the image that you want right now. I think you want -- I know that there was perhaps a need for it on Tuesday. But I think it's probably time for them to go back to their jobs, their regular jobs.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even to the point of local police being ramped up and really sort of intimidating riot gear. We were listening to conversations that they were having with the community yesterday, and they were saying it was sort of a specific order that they not wear those helmets so as not to intimidate the public.
SMERCONISH: Right. Has this been, tom, a test case for the debate over the so-called militarization of police? I've seen a lot of equipment as I've been walking around Baltimore in the last couple of days that I'm sure at some point was on a battlefield in Afghanistan or Iraq.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No, that's true. And I think in this case, it's the militarization of the military. It's the National Guard that's here, not the police using equipment that's been given to them free by the military. But I think that --
VALENCIA: I saw a police tank yesterday, yes.
FUENTES: But I think some of the people, talking about Ferguson, have made a mistake because they said look at the mistake made by the deployment of the St. Louis County police with all their military gear and their sniper on top of the truck. That's true. That's absolutely true the sniper in the truck was just off the top, he should have been using bin oculars or something. But there was no riot that day.
But when they backed police off later in the week, in those days when the police stood there as spectators like we saw here on Monday, buildings burned and people got hurt. And so, the lesson is find the right mix of at least have them staged out of sight but ready.
And if things get out of control, you don't have to make a statement like the police spokesman did on Monday, which I almost had a shock when I heard it -- well it, well, we don't have enough police to do protection of property and protection of people, we had to do one or the other, we decided to protect people. That is incredible to me. You don't have that either or.
SMERCONISH: What should he have said?
FUENTES: We're here to protect both.
FUENTES: And I'm sorry our police officers were given orders to be spectators as that CVS was burned, as women are coming out of burning apartments with their babies in their arms, enveloped in smoke, while people are cutting fire hoses, if not saving lives that that site later in the day might have been needed, another site if you had a major apartment building catch on fire. So, the idea that you're not there to protect property, yes, you are there -- property and people. Not one or the other.
SMERCONISH: Gentlemen, stand by. I want to go to Rene Marsh.
Rene, thanks for sticking with us. Were you surprised that the mayor didn't say anything about the National Guard?
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, she did. She was asked specifically about that, and she said there will be a drawdown. It will not happen immediately. It will be in stages -- essentially, we'll eventually see them pulling out one by one in stages. So that is the answer that we got from her as far as the National Guard goes.
But again, we will not see them all disappear, we will not see that presence diminished right away but it will happen in stages. That was the word from her. She did go inside and she did meet with many business owners who their businesses were damaged.
Again, this was ground zero for where all that rioting and the violence began. The bigger question now is the issue of dealing with the greater economic impact. I mean, yes, sure, they've reopened, but what has been done to the city of Baltimore as far as its image and tourism and people, are they willing to come, and what will the lingering effects be? At this point, it may be too early to assess that. But she did in her talks here discuss a feeling of trying to return to normal, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Rene, thank you so much. I'm glad that you corrected me, because I didn't hear that exchange. We appreciate your report.
We're waiting for a news conference from Governor Larry Hogan speaking shortly after attending church on what he declared as a day of prayer and peace. We'll be right back.
SMERCONISH: We're waiting for a news conference from Governor Larry Hogan speaking shortly after attending church on what he declared as a day of prayer and peace.
Evan Perez, Nick Valencia, and Tom Fuentes are still here with me.
Evan, it occurs to all of us that six individuals have been murdered in Baltimore since the guard arrived unrelated to the whole Freddie Gray situation. There's a problem here.
PEREZ: There's a bigger problem here. And it's funny, this morning there was a city councilman who was tweeting he wants the national media to leave, he wants, you know, things to go back to normal.
I talked to someone out in the neighborhood in North and Penn this week, and what they said was they didn't want things to go back to normal because normal is Baltimore -- in Baltimore is not good. You know, six murders is the average that they have here. And you have heavy guard presence --
SMERCONISH: And still is taking place.
PEREZ: And state police. And still there are six fatal shootings just this week, many more that were not fatal. And that's just normal.
SMERCONISH: Tom, what's the short-term solution?
PEREZ: Well, that's the great question. We've had community leader after leader talk about 30 years or 300 years of oppression here -- all true -- so that children like Freddie Gray are almost doomed from birth to having difficulty the rest of their life.
But we need to fix those ills. No question about it. But what do we do tomorrow, next week, next month when we have six murders a week in this town and have had that average go back several years?
SMERCONISH: This morning here on CNN on STATE OF THE UNION, I had two big city mayors and also a very prominent member of Congress. And the question I was trying to drive them toward is one of, is there a government solution to awful this and did government create this? It's a philosophical question not easily adopted for a short conversation like this. But I think it's a very real discussion that needs to be held.
VALENCIA: Well, you're going back to the point I made earlier. The media presence here, are we perpetuating this? Is this imagery of the National Guard --
SMERCONISH: What do you think?
VALENCIA: You know, what we saw here yesterday was we saw a lot of people acting outrageous for the cameras. And if they weren't here, they would be asking, why are we not here? So, to Evan's point earlier, it's sort of a damned if you, do damned if you don't.
What we have seen over the course of the last week is an evolution in the narrative of the demonstrators, an evolution in the narrative of what they're using. We spoke to a lot of young black men yesterday who were disgusted with what they saw on Monday night, the violence, the criminal activity.
[12:40:00] And that's something we had not heard a lot of, people coming out and saying this is not Baltimore, this is not the city that we live in.
Yes, every big city has major problems, but there's a lot of people know that are really pointing out bad things that are happening.
SMERCONISH: You speak of the evolution of the protesters and their mindset. How about the evolution of the mindset of the mayor? I heard her moments ago refer to some as outside protesters. You, of course, know she used the "thug" word earlier in the week. She walked it back. The president used that word as well. He did not walk it back as far as I know.
PEREZ: You know, and she got into a lot of trouble. You know, part of the problem for her is she's had a rough week. She started off very poor response to this, and I think that's what has gotten some of that response.
I don't know what the right answer to that -- to the word, whether the word should be off limits or not. I can hear both points of view. Chris Cuomo made a very impassioned --
SMERCONISH: He's shaking his head no.
FUENTES: No, it shouldn't be off limits. That's a mainstream term. You know, in my 30 years in the FBI and six as a cop, we used thug to mean a criminal who's violent. Not Bernie Madoff who's also a criminal but violent.
PEREZ: But words change.
FUENTES: Who changed it? The black community decided this is our word, we can't use it anymore? It's a mainstream word.
PEREZ: It is a mainstream word. But after hearing what people say, that word sounds like to them -- you know, I'm rethinking the way I look at it. It's changed my view on it.
SMERCONISH: Look, I'm a bald white guy from the suburbs of Philadelphia. What do I know? When I hear thug, I have this image of a stocky white guy that --
SMERCONISH: -- at target range. You know who I'm thinking of when you go to an indoor range and
there's a white guy with a gun in his hand, he may or may not have a cigar butt sticking out of his mouth? To me that's what I think of when I think of a thug.
FUENTES: Yes, I'm thinking of John Gotti. I'm thinking of Asian organized crime groups, Russian organized crime groups that use violence and narco terrorist activities. They're thugs.
And suddenly now, this has taken on a racial -- it's not the N-word. And it shouldn't be. And the best way to prevent it from being an N- word is use it on everybody else that deserves it.
SMERCONISH: I think somehow there needs to be a conversation that bridges personal responsibility and an understanding of some of the institutional drivers of the circumstances that exist in this city and in big city America. I don't want to absolve those who were -- can I say hooligans, who looted, burned, who stole?
SMERCONISH: They're criminals. They need to be condemned. They need to be locked up and put in jail.
At the same time I do want to be understanding about the plight of communities in which they were raised.
PEREZ: You know, I was in this neighborhood Sandtown where Freddie Gray lived. We were over there doing live shots in the early morning. And there was -- one image that really stuck with me was the image of a father getting his daughter, getting ready for school, putting her in the car.
To the left, to the right the entire block, boarded up houses, houses missing roofs, burned out shelves of buildings. I mean, that's the environment this little girl is growing up in. That's really -- it's hard to believe that's what we have here in Baltimore.
And it's not just Baltimore. Philly, you know, lots of places in America. Detroit have the same problem. And I don't know what the solution is. It's just -- but it's clearly -- I know people are tired of us being here perhaps, but shining a spotlight on the problem is probably not a bad thing.
VALENCIA: Well, according to Marilyn Mosby the solution is accountability. That's you haw heard her saying in her press conference, you're getting it now. Accountability, you're getting it now.
The concern, though, going forward, of course, is are these young men making her look bad by continuing to protest, continuing --
SMERCONISH: Well, they will tonight if they come out tonight and particularly if it gets out of control. I think that they will absolutely prove to be an embarrassment to her after she extended herself from those very steps when she walked down unexpectedly last Friday and charged six police officers in the way that she did.
By the way, we're about a minute away I think from the governor address the recent events, the lifting of the curfew here in Baltimore.
So, what do you think, Tom, we'll hear from him?
FUENTES: Probably the same thing as the mayor. I think it's kind of interesting they're not making this announcement jointly. It goes back to what I said earlier, he moved the capital from Annapolis to Baltimore. He brings in his state police, his National Guard, several thousand, and basically says I'm taking over the town.
You would think at this point they might have gotten a way to talk together and do a way of presentation that brings peace and unified and bringing peace back to this community and removing the guard and the state police and going back to business as usual. The fact they're making separate announcements means to me they're not on the same page yet.
SMERCONISH: Is it too soon to do a political calculus in terms of how this impacts the mayor, how this impacts the governor?
PEREZ: Not too soon. I think this has been a very, very bad week for her. I think if she had aspirations beyond city hall, I think it's a very bad report card she's going to receive. On the other hand --
SMERCONISH: What was the greatest failing?
PEREZ: She was absent while the city was burning --
PEREZ: Initially. And she's had a hard time coming back on that.
[12:45:02] And every time she goes before the cameras and gets asked questions she doesn't like, she starts walking away, you know? On the other hand --
SMERCONISH: You might think so. She said I think to a person at that briefing we just watched. But I'm not going to comment.
PEREZ: On the other hand we have the state prosecutor --
GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R), MARYLAND: Archbishop Lori --
SMERCONISH: We've got the governor right now. Here's Governor Larry Hogan speaking after attending church services.
HOGAN: I can tell you we saw a lot of good things this week. When I came into the city on Monday night, it was all in flames. The city was burning. Stores were being looted, a lot of terrible things. But since then I've seen incredible acts of kindness. I saw neighbors helping neighbors. I've seen a community that cares about each other.
And it's a great way to end the week-w a day of prayer and piece and reconciliation. That's what this is all about.
REPORTER: How do you feel about the lifting of the curfew that the mayor just announced? Are you concerned at all that looters might come back tonight that the curfew has been lifted?
HOGAN: The mayor and I both talked and we agreed that it's time to get the community back to normal again. You know, it's been a very hard week, but we've kept everybody safe. Since Monday night we haven't had any serious problems. I just thank everybody in the community for their help, in keeping the calm and keeping the peace. We couldn't have done it without them.
But it's going to take a little while for us to totally get back normal. But I think lifting the curfew's a good idea. It's been a really rough week but let's get back to normal in the city and get people back to work and back to school and get people coming back into the city to visit the shops that were really devastated this week and the smallest mom and pop stores and restaurants. They need your help.
So, we want tone courage everybody to come back to the city. It's safe. And we've got calm and peace in the city, which is something we haven't seen in a little while.
REPORTER: How long will the National Guard be staying, Governor?
HOGAN: We've already started withdrawal of the guard. The trucks are pulling out this morning. It's going to take a little bit of a while. You know, we brought in 4,000 people this week to keep the city safe. We brought in 1,000 extra police officers, 3,000 members of the guard, and 3,000 volunteers to help clean things up.
It's not going to happen instantaneously. It's going to take a couple of days to get everybody out. We had to build an entire city to save the city. So, it's going to take I while, but we've already started and we're going to get back to normal as quickly as we can.
REPORTER: -- the police officers, is the Baltimore Police Department in need of reform?
HOGAN: Well, look, I don't want to get into the reform of the Baltimore police or the case itself. What we need is a lot of healing. Obviously, there's big issues we've got to address.
What I've been totally focused on, 20-some hours a day every day for the past week is keeping everybody safe. There's longer-term questions and issues about how we fix this, how we develop more trust between the community and the police, how we fix some of the overarching problems happening in our urban areas and here in Baltimore.
But, you know, today, we're not going to solve that. Today we're about having peace in the city and thank everybody for their help.
(CROSSTALK) REPORTER: -- Freddie Gray was not restrained in the police van he was in. In this neighborhood and some neighborhoods around the country, that's known as a rough ride. Do you want to review statewide right now how prevalent it might be in other law enforcement agencies?
HOGAN: Well, actually, we're signing eight pieces of legislation, including one that allows us to gather all that kind of information from various police departments. We'll be doing that this week.
REPORTER: Governor --
REPORTER: The rough rides --
HOGAN: Let somebody else ask a question.
HOGAN: It's going to be devastating. Monday night, we lost 200 businesses. Most of them were minority-owned businesses. Many of them didn't have insurance.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been lost. People had their homes burned down, businesses burned down and looted. And then the folks that didn't get a hit on Monday night lost business for an entire week. And I talked to a lot of them over the past few days. A lot of people were impacted in communities throughout the city. We're going to do everything we can to help them.
REPORTER: You think about going to church. The cardinal said this is the time for walls to come down. What kind of walls have to come down for this healing process?
HOGAN: Well, you know, we've all got to come together. It's a day of unity. It's a day of reconciliation. It's a day of prayers and peace for the city of Baltimore -- for the people that have been affected, for Freddie Gray's family, for all the folks that lost their homes and businesses, for the over 100 police officers who were injured on Monday night.
You know, one of the first things I did when I got here, I went to shock trauma and saw 15 police officers that were badly injured. The sacrifice of the national guard, the police and fire that were out there protecting and serving almost 24 hours a day. A lot of people need our prayers and our thanks -- the community leaders who came together, the faith leaders who pitched in and continued to preach peace.
I've got prayers for everybody. And I thank God for the wisdom and strength that I got because I can tell you this is the first moment of peace I've had in a week.
[12:50:05] We've had almost no sleep.
REPORTER: Governor -- REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) about the officers aren't convicted, about more
rioting in the city?
HOGAN: This is the very beginning of the process. We don't have a role in the process but I believe in the justice system. It's going to take a long time to play out and we'll be prepared for whatever. We want the truth to come out as everybody else does and we'll see what happens when it does. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, guys.
REPORTER: State of emergency lifted, Governor?
HOGAN: Curfew's already been lifted.
REPORTER: State of emergency, too?
SMERCONISH: Governor Larry Hogan -- hey, I think we've just learned a great deal, men, in terms of the latest developments. I heard the governor say he had spoken to the mayor, that it's going to take a while to get back to a sense of normal and most significantly perhaps the drawdown of the National Guard, a subject that we've been discussing for the better part of an hour, began this morning. It's already in effect. He said 200 businesses were lost on Monday night alone. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been lost in the process.
I think my takeaway is that we have just heard during the course of this hour the political establishment declare that this is over. What remains to be seen is what happens tonight and do the protesters go along with the establishment?
PEREZ: That's right. And also, you know, this entire incident has been so unusual in that you have rioting before you even have a decision, any verdict or anything. That's typically what happens in these types of cases, Rodney King and others.
Baltimore has set a new standard of how people behave when these types of incidents happen. So, what I think the governor also was trying to address was we don't know what's going to happen with this process, whether or not there's going to be any convictions of these six officers. And, you know, my fear is that we'll be back here again when that process wraps up.
SMERCONISH: I have the same fear. What did you find significant?
VALENCIA: A boiling point here. They started rioting on Monday night before any charges were leveled. I think when I talked to demonstrators out there I said why loot your own neighborhood? Why do that? Because you didn't pay attention until we did.
And I don't know if I understand that or agree with that completely, but that is the mindset of some of those people out there causing these issues and these problems.
SMERCONISH: Is this a law enforcement tactic that we've just seen unfold, that if we announce we're moving on because it's over and things are better, that will be the case? Can we will peace?
FUENTES: When you have 5,000 people to remove and you say you're doing it incrementally, you know, it doesn't mean that 4,900 are going to be gone by tomorrow morning. So, there will be the process of drawing down will still leave people here. And they're from Maryland. In fact, most of the guardsmen I talked to out here -- guardsmen and women -- during the week were telling me they're from Baltimore. So, to call them back up isn't like they have to come from California or something. They're here already.
SMERCONISH: Tom, yesterday, I was watching the coverage when you were positioned right here. You were listening to hours of speeches. And many of them you found as a person of law enforcement background to be very uncomfortable. Those speakers you heard here yesterday, some of whom were calling for anarchy.
SMERCONISH: Are they going to be satisfied with what they just heard from the mayor and the governor essentially saying time to move on?
FUENTES: No, I don't know what would satisfy them. What the gentleman here with a bullhorn were shouting in front of several thousand people who were cheering him on was all police are pigs, all police are bad, we don't need any police, all of our brothers and sisters that were arrested claiming to burn businesses, the rioters, essentially, should be let out, they're good people, and everybody should be let out of jail and all police should be either eliminated or put in jail.
PEREZ: But I mean let's be honest --
FUENTES: I had to listen to that for two hours, Evan. So, you know, it was enough.
PEREZ: He doesn't represent not even like --
FUENTES: You know what? That would be true if they stood silent and said, get him out of here. But there were a couple thousand people on this grass lawn over here cheering every time he said, we don't need the police.
PEREZ: Again, they don't represent the majority of the people -- people in Sandtown went to work yesterday. A lot of people were not out here. And I don't think -- you talk to people out here, they do not agree with that. They want to be able to call the police and get help when they need it.
FUENTES: They will when they get home. But they were out here cheering him on.
PEREZ: The people who came here, some of the people were definitely trying to voice --
VALENCIA: It was a different group what we saw. A lot of outside presence, anarchists, anonymous types, opportunists. Professional protesters, Michael.
PEREZ: Who came here, we saw that in Ferguson.
FUENTES: That's not the way to do it.
PEREZ: Yes. But you saw in Ferguson, too, you saw from people coming, taking the bus and coming to Ferguson to try to take advantage of the situation.
SMERCONISH: OK. I think what we're saying is we hope the people who are truly representative of the community here, who have to live here, want peace here, will not be led astray by others who've arrived here in Baltimore just for agitation purposes.
VALENCIA: Those conversations of healing have already started.
SMERCONISH: Great. Gentlemen, thank you so much for spending a full hour with us. We hadn't anticipated events to play out the way they did, but glad we were here live.
I'm Michael Smerconish in Baltimore. Remember, you can follow me on Twitter, @Smerconish if you can spell it.
Fredericka Whitfield picks up our coverage right after this break.