Baltimore mother in viral video who beat up her son is my kind of mom

MEET THE MOTHER of the Year.

Her name is Toya Graham and she lives in Baltimore. She's the mom caught on video Monday slapping around her son after she caught him hurling rocks at police.

In the video, which was shot by WMAR-TV, she repeatedly smacks her 16-year-old son, Michael, in the face. He's dressed all in black. Even though he'd attempted to conceal his identity with a face mask, she still was able to recognize him.

"I could see the objects being thrown at the police and I was like in awe . . . lo and behold, I turn and I look in this crowd and my son is actually coming across the street with this hoodie on and a mask," she told CBS News. "At that point I just lost it.

"And he gave me eye contact. And at that point, not even thinking about cameras or anything like that, [I acted]. That's my only son and at the end of the day, I don't want him to be a Freddie Gray."

Gray was an unarmed 25-year-old black man who died earlier this month while in police custody.

When the single mother of six children spotted her son, Graham delivered her own street justice right there out on the streets of Charm City.

"He said to me, 'Ma, when I seen you, my instinct was to run,' " Graham told a CBS producer. "He knew he was in trouble."

The sound quality on the video, which has gone viral, isn't great. But as she attempts to restrain the teen, she screams, "What the f--- is wrong with you, huh?" The teen tries to get away but she pursues him with the vengeance of a mama bear, screaming: "Get over here! Did you hear what I said? Get over here!"

All I can say is go ahead, sister.

Handle your business.

If you don't, the authorities will. More parents should follow her lead.

Spare me the crap about corporal punishment being ineffective. I'm well-aware that it's not the best way of dealing with wayward adolescents. But let's get real. When thugs are burning down buildings, police are being injured, people are being shot at and cars are being vandalized, it's time to get old school.

Don't get me wrong. I support those peacefully protesting in the wake of public outrage over the deaths of unarmed black men in police custody.

There are times when I feel like taking to the streets myself to express outrage over all of these police shootings of unarmed black men. What happened to Gray makes no sense to me. I'll never forget his howls of pain and the sight of his legs dragging limply as police loaded him into a police van after his arrest on April 12. But there's a big difference between concerned citizens peacefully protesting a perceived injustice and the criminal antics Baltimore has been experiencing.

I applaud the good people in Baltimore who've taken it upon themselves to clean up their streets and attempt to seize control of their city from the hooligans. Sometimes, like them and like Graham, you have to get off the sidelines.

That's what I'd do. If I had a son and caught him hurling rocks at law enforcement and running through the streets with his face covered like a common criminal the way Michael did, I'd slap him silly, too. In a way, Graham let her boy off easy. I would have body-slammed mine. Michael could have hit the wrong police officer with a rock - and then what?

Parents, police your children.

As Graham pointed out yesterday about Michael: "Is he the perfect boy? No, he's not. But he's mine."

I heard that.

That's why to me, she's Mother of the Year.

 


On Twitter: @JeniceArmstrong

Blog: ph.ly/HeyJen

 

Email: armstrj@phillynews.com