Earlier today on CBS This Morning, Baltimore mother Toya Graham told her story about the now-viral scene from Monday where she pulled her son Michael off of the streets of rioting Baltimore.
While most Americans appear to view Graham's good parenting positively, others haven't, and have argued that support for Graham's actions is part of a larger effort to "dismiss the anger in Baltimore in insulting and paternalistic terms."
Comedy Central's The Daily Show humorously observed that the largely teen-aged rioters were more likely to be scared by their mom with a spoon then would be of police.
Graham doesn't seemed fazed by detractors, telling CBS on Tuesday: “I’m a no-tolerant mother. Everybody that knows me, know I don’t play that,” and that “He knew he was in trouble... He said, ‘When I seen you.... Ma, my instinct was to run.’
"Is he the perfect boy?" Graham rhetorically asks herself, "No, he's not. But he's mine. I'm just grateful that I was able to get him home. And we actually sat back and watched the news and everything, and he had Facebook friends, and everybody, you know, making comments, saying, you know, 'You shouldn't be mad at your mother. You should give her a hug." ... I just hope, not sure, but I hope, that he understands the seriousness of what was going on last night."
Asked by Gayle King whether she felt like a hero, Graham responded "I don't."
"That whole scene was not safe, it was not safe at all... To see my son with a rock in his hand... I just lost it."
After recognizing her son and making eye contact with him, Toya recounts her son Michael responded to her ear-grab and "right hook" (as Charlie Rose put it) "Mom. Mom. Mom. OK, Mom. OK, Mom."
"How dare you do this?" Toya told her son, of associating with those who would assault police. "For him to do what he was doing, it was unacceptable."
Graham observed that: "A lot of his friends have been killed." King opined Graham "opened up a can of whoop ass on him, the way I was looking at it." Graham, acknowledging it, laughed.
"He knows right from wrong," Graham said of her son. "He's just like the other teenagers that doesn't have the perfect relationship with police officers in Baltimore City. But you will not be throwing rocks and stones at police officers. At some point, who's to say that they don't have to come and protect me from something?... And they might not want to, knowing that you're bringing harm to them. Two wrongs don't make a right. So, at the end of the day, I just wanted to make sure that I got my son home. "
Graham recently lost her job, and having six kids to raise, Graham knows that her son sees her struggle. When asked by Norah O'Donnell what she thought when she saw the tape of the interaction, she responded "I thought, 'Oh my God, my Pastor is going to have a fit.'"
The Police Commissioner, O'Donnell reported, said "we need more moms like you.... Send in the moms."