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Baltimore mom who pulled son from riots didn't want him 'to be a Freddie Gray'

By
Marilyn Malara
Toya Graham, captured on video reprimanding her son at the scene of Baltimore riots, said she didn't want him to be another 'Freddie Gray.' Screenshot courtesy of WJZ
Toya Graham, captured on video reprimanding her son at the scene of Baltimore riots, said she didn't want him to be another 'Freddie Gray.' Screenshot courtesy of WJZ

BALTIMORE, April 29 (UPI) -- The Baltimore mother who caught her son defying authorities and removed him from the scene of riots told CBS News she only wanted to keep him safe.

"He gave me eye contact. And at that point, you know, not even thinking about cameras or anything like that. That's my only son, and at the end of the day I don't want him to be a Freddie Gray," Toya Graham said in the Tuesday interview.

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She said that when she caught sight of her 16-year-old son wearing a hoodie and a mask throwing rocks at police, "I just lost it. I was shocked, I was angry, because you never want to see your child out there doing that." She was caught on tape smacking her son repeatedly and screaming at him as she led him away from the scene.

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"I'm a no-tolerant mother. Everybody who knows me knows I don't play that," she said. "He knew he was in trouble."

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One of Graham's five daughters, Tameka Brown, told CNN that her brother was glad that his mom came to get him: "She has always been tough and knows where we are at." She said that he understands his mom wants to keep him alive.

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After seeing what happened, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts commended Graham on Monday night.

"And if you saw in one scene you had one mother who grabbed their child who had a hood on his head and she started smacking him on the head because she was so embarrassed," he said. "I wish I had more parents that took charge of their kids out there tonight."

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The teen's Facebook page overflowed with comments of support for his mother as the video spread. "Friends and everybody making comments saying you know, you shouldn't be mad at your mother, you should give her a hug," Graham said.

"And by him seeing everything what's going on I just hope, I'm not sure, but I hope that he understands the seriousness of what was going on last night."

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