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Bobbi Smallwood, whose son was arrested during the Baltimore uprising, talks about how the judicial system is literally killing her

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CAPTION: Allen Bullock is charged with a felony and was given a $500,000 bail for breaking a police car window during the Baltimore uprising. On Friday, his mother showed up to watch her son’s trial. Instead, her husband was arrested after he cursed under his breath. BOBBI SMALLWOOD, ALLEN BULLOCK’S MOTHER: It’s just a damn shame we can’t leave. We walked in with him. So he walked behind. My husband kept saying, what’d you say? What’d you say? So my husband ain’t saying nothing. My husband said, like I say, we walk in, we can’t walk out. You might as well stop and say–you can’t lock me up for saying it. That’s freedom of speech. I say what I want to say. So my husband put his hat on his head. He said no, but we can lock you up for putting your hat on your head. And that was real fucked up. You feel me? Everybody in there had their hat on their head. THOMAS HEDGES, TRNN: I had my hat on. SMALLWOOD: Exactly. So why wouldn’t they, why wouldn’t–I mean, they just wanted to pick on him because he couldn’t talk while he was, because he couldn’t, I mean, they couldn’t lock him up at that time for cussing. But that’s okay though, because I–I go for open heart surgery Monday. And it’s like, and to my son and my husband, right, I can’t go. I got so much thrust on me, so [messed up], and I’m so tired. I’m, like, so tired. But the security guard in there, she prayed with me. And I do believe in God, so I’m going to let that go, and I’m just going to pray about it. I thank that God, that when he said all his supporters stand up, it was almost the whole room. And I thank God for that. Because a whole room full of people who support my son, people that would support us three. And every time we’re here it’s a bunch of supporters, I mean, a bunch coming from out of town to support my son. He’s not a bad person, he’s really not. He’s not a bad child. He was a teenager. He did what teenagers do. He ain’t no business on that police car, true. The window–when they came to my house they told me the window was $215 to get done. And that hat that was missing was five hundred and something. So all together they want $1000 for that. So I will pay that. What is y’all still holding my son? If I get–I mean, if y’all give him a million dollar bail, that’s way more than what he did. The system is gone. This world is going to an end. HEDGES: And this happens all the time. SMALLWOOD: All the time. All the time. It’s so bad that I wake up in the morning, and I–when I wake up, before I go to bed at night, I pray to God that I [won’t even] wake up the next morning because I can’t take it. I’m tired. I’m literally tired. I’m tired. I’m fucked up right–excuse me. I’m messed up right now. I really am. I really am. I feel like I’m about to just drop and be gone. My head just want to [bust].


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Thomas Hedges is a freelance photographer, videographer and writer based out of New York/New Jersey. His work has appeared in The Guardian, Salon, Demos, The Nation, NowThis, Brut. Media, Thrillist, and CBS. Hedges formerly worked as a producer for TRNN. Follow him @TAHedges.