A mother’s concern for protecting her son was the main reason for a Baltimore mother smacking her son, who participated in riots protesting the death of Freddie Gray.

In an interview with CBS News, Toya Graham said that her only concern at that time was making sure her son didn’t end up like Gray, who died after sustaining severe spinal injuries in police custody earlier this month. Authorities are currently investigating exactly what happened to the 25-year-old man that resulted in his death.

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The tragedy has resulted in protests throughout Baltimore, with tensions in the city boiling over Monday.

“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,” Graham said, referencing the 25-year-old man who died after mysteriously sustaining severe spinal injuries in police custody earlier in the month. His death has sparked protests throughout the city, with tensions boiling over Monday.

Footage of Graham disciplining her son has gone viral, with Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts weighing in on the mother’s tough love.

“I wish I had more parents who took charge of their kids tonight,” he said, according to CBS Baltimore.

Speaking with reporters late Monday night, Batts reveled that area high school students were among the bulk of rioters who triggered massive looting and vandalism across parts of West Baltimore as they pelted officers with rocks and bricks. Authorities say that at least 20 police officers were injured in the violence, in addition to one person who was critically hurt in a fire. Police made 235 arrests, including 34 juveniles, CBS News reports.


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