A source involved in the enforcement efforts confirmed there was a direct order from the mayor to her police chief, as riots broke out on Monday night to stand down.

Despite a firm denial by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a senior law enforcement source charges that she gave an order for police to stand down as riots broke out Monday night, raising more questions about whether some of the violence and looting could have been prevented.

The source, who is involved in the enforcement efforts, confirmed to Fox News there was a direct order from the mayor to her police chief Monday night, effectively tying the hands of officers as they were pelted with rocks and bottles.

Asked directly if the mayor was the one who gave that order, the source said: “You are God damn right it was.”

The claim follows criticism of the mayor for, over the weekend, saying they were giving space to those who “wished to destroy.”

By Tuesday night, despite the chaos a day earlier, Baltimore police along with the National Guard and other law enforcement contingents seemed to be restoring order in the city, which was under a curfew overnight.

Rawlings-Blake has defended her handling of the unrest, which grew out of protests over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.

The mayor, in an interview with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer on Tuesday, denied any order was issued to hold back on Monday.

“You have to understand, it is not holding back. It is responding appropriately,” she said, saying there was no stand-down directive.

She said her critics have a right to their opinion.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday suggested the mayor also waited too long to request a state of emergency.

That followed criticism over her remarks over the weekend, when she said it’s important to give protesters the opportunity to exercise their right to free speech.

She seemed to take that notion a step further: “It’s a very delicate balancing act, because, while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”

As her “destroy” remarks faced a buzzsaw of criticism amid the riots Monday, the mayor initially tried to deny she said them.

“I never said nor would I ever say that we are giving people space to destroy our city, so my words should not be twisted,” the mayor said Monday.

In a press conference, she accused critics of a “blatant mischaracterization.”

But her office eventually released a written statement acknowledging she said those words — while attempting to explain them.

Via: FOX News

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