A Baltimore teen who turned himself into police after taking part in riots over the weekend is reportedly being held on a $500,000 bail.
The parents of 18-year-old Allen Bullock, who could face years behind bars, say his bail amount is an effort by Baltimore police to make “an example” of their son.
Bullock faces eight criminal charges, reports the Guardian, including malicious destruction of property and rioting. Bullock, who turned out with friends Saturday to protest the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, was captured in a picture that ran on the front page of the Baltimore Sun using a traffic cone to beat in the windshield of the police cruiser alongside another protester.
— The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) April 26, 2015
Although he was not arrested at the scene, his parents say they became aware of Bullock’s actions after the picture and video footage began appearing in various news outlets. They immediately sought to convince their son to turn himself over to police in order to avoid harsher punishment. Bullock’s step-father, Maurice Hawkins, told the Guardian that he feared the police would “find him, knock down our door, and beat him” if he didn’t voluntarily confess to his crimes.
“By turning himself in he also let me know he was growing as a man and he recognized that what he did was wrong,” Hawkins added.
The parents’ efforts to teach their son about responsibility and owning up to his own actions morphed into a situation far worse than they could have imagined. Despite the fact that all eight of the charges against Bullock are misdemeanors, police have set his bail at $500,000. It’s an extremely high amount, exceeding the bond of some violent criminals. For comparison, when infamous accused multiple murderer Robert Durst was arrested on murder charges in 2001, Texas police set his bond at just $300,000.
The Baltimore police have not said why Bullock’s bail was set so inordinately high, but his parents suspect that it’s an effort by the police to make an example of their son who they see as in instigator in the rioting.
“As parents, we wanted Allen to do the right thing,” said Bullock’s mother, Bobbi Smallwood. “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.
She added: “It is just so much money. Who could afford to pay that?”
Like many young people in Baltimore, Bullock took to the streets to voice outrage of Gray’s death, the latest in a string of high profile deaths involving unarmed black men and police officers.
On Friday, Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged six Baltimore police officers the death of Gray, which has been ruled a homicide. The officers are accused of arresting the 25 year old without cause and throwing him in the back of a police van with his hands and feet shackled and his body unrestrained.
Officers allegedly drove the van wildly, an unsanctioned tactic known as a “rough ride,” tossing Gray’s body around the vehicle. This allegedly lead to a fatal spine fracture, a crushed voice box, and other injuries. The driver of the van, Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., faces the most severe charge, second-degree, depraved-heart murder, as well as other charges.
Photo by Dickelbers/Wikimedia (CC BY SA 3.0) | Remix by Jason Reed