Allen Bullock, age 18, appeared on the front page of the Baltimore Sun last Sunday. Bullock is seen smashing a car windscreen with a traffic cone. It was two days before a state of emergency was declared in the Maryland capital to control riots.
Bullock’s stepfather Maurice Hawkins, saw the newspaper, and told him he had to ‘do the right thing’ and contacted police. Doing the right thing has Bullock’s bail set at $500,000 and the threat of eight years in jail, his family has wavered in their conviction.
The Daily Mail reported: ‘It is just so much money, who could afford to pay that?’ remarks his mother, Bobbi Smallwood, in an interview with The Guardian.
‘If they let him go he could at least save some money and pay them back for the damage he did.’
When asked by the paper if she regrets the decision to turn in her son, Smallwood, 43, said: ‘I do.’
His stepfather, however, stands by his decision.
‘I know what would happen to him if he hadn’t,’ he told The Guardian, adding: ‘By turning himself in he also let me know he was growing as a man and he recognized what he did was wrong.’
Smallwood, who was convicted of prostitution in 2003, defended her son: ‘He was dead wrong and he does need to be punished. But he wasn’t leading this riot. He hasn’t got that much power.’
Her words are at odds with another mother, Violet Gordon, who said she ‘can’t wait to get her hands on’ her 23-year-old son, who is also charged with rioting after allegedly throwing rocks at firefighters.
Bullock is charged with eight misdemeanors, including rioting, which can carry a life sentence in Maryland. His parents told The Guardian he will likely get four to eight years.
The other man pictured on the Sun front page has not been arrested.
It is the first set of adult charges brought against Bullock, who has a string of juvenile convictions for ‘theft and fighting’, and was on probation at the time of his arrest.
A day before he turned himself in, Bullock posted a picture on Facebook of him smashing the car.
Bullock will be tried as an adult for the first time. He has a string of minor convictions as a juvenile for theft. Yes, what Allen Bullock did was wrong, but in the end, he did the right thing by turning himself in, and now his honesty will cost him dearly.
I think the police would have been better off showing leniency by setting a reasonable bail, and sending a message to others that honesty does in deed pay off.
Photos courtesy of Daily Mail