Mom who dragged son from riots speaks out: ‘He will not be a Freddie Gray’


The woman social media users dubbed  “Mother of the Year” for utilizing tough love — and a couple of well placed smacks — to  drag her son away from the Baltimore riots has been identified.

Toya Graham spoke to CBS Tuesday and explained why she took drastic action when she noticed her son, Michael, was about to join the mayhem.

Toya Graham
Pictures via Facebook and Instagram.

“He gave me eye contact,” she told CBS News. “And at that point, you know, not even thinking about cameras or anything like that.”

Graham feared for her son’s safety.

“That’s my only son,” she said. “And at the end of the day, I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray.”

Toya Graham
Photo via Facebook.

“Is he a perfect boy? No he’s not. But he’s mine,” she said.

She said her son’s first thought when he saw her was to run for it.

“He knew he was in trouble. At that point, I just lost it,” Graham said.

“I was shocked,” she said. “I was angry, because you never want to see your child out there doing that.”

Toya Grahams Son
Toya Graham’s Son Michael. Photos via Instagram.

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For Graham, a single mother of six, taking action seems to be her nature.

In August 2014 gunshots were fired outside of her home striking a man.

She ran to check on her children and then went outside to try to help the victim who died before he could be taken to the hospital, according to ABC News.

“Soon we’re not even going to be able to walk out of our doors,” she said prophetically at the time.

“That was somebody’s child, and it’s real overwhelming that somebody takes somebody’s life like that and he was just left there,” she added.

“Soon” came less than a year later with riots breaking out across the city.

But she did walk out her door — and dragged her son back in.

And became a symbol for what parenting is all about.


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