Picture of Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland
The Democrat, who's expected to launch a long-shot presidential primary campaign against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, was near a burned-out and looted CVS pharmacy when two men on motorcycles swore at O'Malley for his tough-on-crime policies from 1999 to 2007, the Washington Post reports.
Shaking hands and posing for selfies while reporters and residents asked him about his policing strategy, one of the hecklers screamed: "F— that, this is his fault!"
"Do you know who he is? Why would you shake his hand?" the man asked people following O'Malley.
The Post reports the heckler identified himself as Wayne Grady, 47, a housing developer who's a lifelong Baltimore resident.
"He had his chance to fix this," Grady said of O'Malley, the Post reports. "He’s part of the frustrations that are built up in these black young men."
O'Malley told the Post he tried to does his best "to strike the right balance...."
As for the heckling, O'Malley remarked only "Most people have been very nice to me. You’ve gotta to be present in the middle of the pain, man."
The Post reports O'Malley may have to face some political fallout from the Baltimore turmoil, which erupted after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died April 19 of injuries he mysteriously sustained while in police custody.
While on the stump, O'Malley touts Baltimore's rise from the ashes, including a drop in violent crime that's been attributed to his zero-tolerance approach that led to an increase in arrests, the Post reports.
"It sure isn’t going to help him," Gene Raynor, a critic who was friends with the late Democratic mayor and Maryland governor William Donald Schaefer, told the Post. "I think it does reflect on him."
Added Democratic strategist Joe Trippi: "You’re up against the images people are seeing today, even if you did a great job."
"It’s like talking about climate change when there’s the worst snowstorm in your city’s history," he told the Post. "It doesn’t mean you can’t win your case, but it’s a tougher case to win."