A Baltimore mother became a national celebrity when she was caught on tape slapping her masked son and dragging him home after recognizing him among a group of rioting youth.
The incident took place amid violent riots which broke out April 27 amid a period of unrest in the city following the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while in police custody.
Toya Graham explained to CBS News that she did not want her son “to become another Freddie Gray.”
“That’s my only son and at the end of the day I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray,” she told CBS. “I was angry. I was shocked, because you never want to see your child out there doing that.”
Gray was arrested and beaten by the Baltimore Police Department for alleged possession of a switchblade on April 12. On his way to the hospital, Gray fell into a coma and was taken to a trauma center with injuries to his spinal cord and larynx. Gray died on April 19 from his injuries allegedly inflicted by the police.
Graham said she has five other children in addition to her son. In the viral video Graham is seen pulling her son, who is wearing a ski mask, away from a protest crowd while smacking him in the head repeatedly and screaming at him.
“I’m a no-tolerant mother,” Graham told CBS News. “Everybody who knows me, knows I don’t play that. He knew. He knew he was in trouble.”
Graham’s son admitted that he wanted to run away as soon as he saw his mother walking toward him.
Police Commissioner Anthony Batts remarked on Graham’s actions during a press conference.
“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,” Batts said. “I wish I had more parents that took charge of their kids out there tonight.”