WASHINGTON (AP) – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Baltimore native whose father was the city’s mayor, appealed for peace in her home town Thursday and said “something different” is needed from police and the justice system.
She said Freddie Gray’s death in police custody “demands answer.” Pelosi, D-Calif., said she hopes Baltimore can move forward to a “productive peace” in the wake of rioting after Gray’s unexplained death, but that there needs to be recognition that the reasons for the unrest are complex.
Pelosi suggested responses including body cameras, a summer jobs program, changes to mandatory minimum sentencing, and better training for law enforcement. Some of those ideas are embodied in bills Democrats are advancing.
Her brother, like her father, was mayor of Baltimore, and held office when devastating riots broke out after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.
“This is not anywhere near what that was,” Pelosi said, “but nonetheless some of the same symptoms are there that cause some of the unease.”
“The fury of despair, of no hope, is something throughout the world and including in our country, that evokes an angry response,” she said. “It’s very sad but it is a very big issue that we have to pay attention to.”