(CNN) – As protesters decrying Freddie Gray’s death plan more rallies in Baltimore Thursday, anger is mounting over a police union’s comparison of the protest to a “lynch mob.”
“While we appreciate the right of our citizens to protest and applaud the fact that, to date, the protests have been peaceful, we are very concerned about the rhetoric of the protests,” the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 said in a statement.
“In fact, the images seen on television look and sound much like a lynch mob in that they are calling for the immediate imprisonment of these officers without them ever receiving the due process that is the constitutional right of every citizen, including law enforcement officers.”
That comparison drew swift and sharp criticism, given the history of lynchings of African-Americans in the United States. Rooted in the racial ire of the Civil War, lynching involved mobs hanging from trees black people, minorities and those who opposed oppression of minorities. The extrajudicial killings were common in the segregated South from 1877 to 1950 — more than 4,000 people were murdered, according to a recent report. But lynchings took place across the country, and have deeply scarred race relations in the country.