Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley responded Wednesday to the renewed protest over the death of unarmed black Baltimore resident Freddie Gray by addressing what he described as the difficulties that white people have talking about race.
In a wide ranging interview with Fusion’s Alicia Menendez, O’Malley responded to a question about Gray by saying that he thinks “it’s very difficult for a lot of us who are white to appreciate the constant state of vulnerability within which many of our black neighbors live.” As the former Mayor of Baltimore, O’Malley has faced criticism for his role in crafting the city’s policing strategy, which some activists argue helped lead to an environment of mistrust between communities and police there.
O’Malley, who was also Maryland’s governor from 2007 to 2015, also took an opportunity to draw contrast between himself and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s position on the Black Lives Matter movement. Responding to a comment Clinton made to a group of Black Lives Matter protesters in August, O’Malley took issue with the former Secretary of State’s assertion that, without a plan, protesters will “get nothing but lip service from as many white people as you can pack into Yankee Stadium.”
“I would disagree with Secretary Clinton. In fact, I think there are things that we can do that actually improve how we police police, that improve police community relations, that can reduce police involved shootings, which we did here in Baltimore, driving them down to their three lowest years on record.”
O’Malley went on to praise a number of policies that he believes can be effective in addressing the issue of police violence, including civilian review boards for police, “reverse stings” for corrupt police officers and the use of body cameras. Last month a group of activists affiliated with Black Lives Matter released a policy platform titled “Campaign Zero” which lays out specific plans for civilian oversight of police forces and greater use of body cameras.
O’Malley’s daughter, Grace, who is a public school teacher in Baltimore, also participated in the interview. Watch the full interview with both O’Malleys here: