Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake under fire for 'balancing act' comments

As tensions boiled over into the streets of Baltimore Monday night, the city's mayor faced backlash for her response, or lack of, to a situation woefully out of control.

More than a dozen police officers were injured. Cars, stores and other buildings were vandalized and some were even burned to the ground.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake attempted to draw a distinction between protesting and engaging in criminal activity when telling reporters she condemns the violence but remains committed to protecting the right to protest.

"It's a very delicate balancing act because while we tried to make sure they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we gave those who wished to destroy space to do that, as well," she said in the wake of Saturday's protests in Baltimore.

However on Monday night, as rioters engaged in outbreaks of violence, Rawlings-Blake gave this statement. "I'm going to protect people's right to protest," she said. "The fact that people exploited that does not mean that I do not have an obligation to protect people's right to protest. I never said, nor would I ever say, that we are giving people space to destroy our city. So my words should not be twisted."