Black Lawmakers Push Back on Obama ‘Thugs’ Comment

Leading black Democrats are rejecting President Obama’s conclusion that “thugs” were behind the furor in Baltimore that followed last month’s death of a black man in the custody of city police.

Obama has characterized the rioters as “criminals and thugs who tore up” the city in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death, which Maryland officials on Friday deemed a homicide committed by six police officers now facing murder charges.

But leading members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are denouncing the president’s language, arguing that a vast majority of the protesters — even those who resorted to violence — were simply kids swept away in the emotions of the moment. Obama, they say, overstepped in employing a term that, in recent years, has taken on sensitive racial dimensions.