Baltimore Councilman Carl Stokes on CNN 

Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes clashed with CNN’s Erin Burnett Tuesday evening after Burnett asked if “thugs” was not the appropriate word to use when describing the “bad actors” of the Baltimore protests.

Burnett pointed out that Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and President Barack Obama also used the word to describe the individuals involved in the disorder.

Stokes vehemently disagreed. “No, of course it’s not the right word to call our children thugs. These are children who have been set aside, marginalized, who have not been engaged by us. No, we don’t have to call them thugs.”

“But how does that justify what they did?” Burnett countered. “I mean, that’s a sense of right and wrong. They know it’s wrong to steal and burn down a CVS and an old person’s home. I mean, come on.”


“‘Come on’?” Stokes retorted. “So calling them thugs—just call them n—gers. Just call them n—gers.

“No. We don’t have to call them by names such as that. We don’t have to do that,” the councilman continued. “When you say ‘come on,’ come on what? You wouldn’t call your child a thug if they did something which was not what you’d expect them to do.”


Burnett, for her part, said that she “would hope” that she would call her son a thug “if he ever did such a thing.”

Watch the exchange below: