BALTIMORE -- Martin O’Malley formally launched his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Saturday in the sun-drenched heart of the city he once led. But Baltimore today confronts an image far different than the one O’Malley left behind when his term as mayor ended eight years ago.
The city has been rocked by killings and riots and has become a national symbol of urban turmoil and despair.
O’Malley, 52, Saturday confronted the controversy as he has since parts of West Baltimore erupted in protest last month over the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American man who died in police custody.
Critics charged his anti-crime policies alienated that constituency. O’Malley vigorously disagreed, and spent a good chunk of his address Saturday addressing the concerns.
“For all of us who have given so much of our energies to making our city a safer, fairer, more just and more prosperous place, it was a heartbreaking night in the life of our city,” he said. “But there is something to be learned from that night, and there is something to be offered to our country from those flames.”