Allen Bullock, 18, is facing four years to life in prison for participating in last weekend's riots.
After photos began circulating online of Allen Bullock using an orange traffic cone to smash in a car window during Saturday's protests, his parents encouraged him to turn himself into the police. After doing so, Bullock was arrested, charged with eight counts of criminal activity. He is currently being held on a $500,000 bail—more than the bail of some accused murderers.
"As parents, we wanted Allen to do the right thing," said Bullock's mother, Bobbi Smallwood, to the Guardian. "He was dead wrong, and he does need to be punished. But he wasn't leading this riot. He hasn't got that much power."
Bullock's family, who lives in subsidized housing, is unable to afford his bail. They say that though he had faced minor offenses as a juvenile, this is his first charge as an adult.
Since the unrest began last weekend, dozens of people have been arrested for rioting. The Guardian reports that yesterday, dozens of bail hearings took place at one of Baltimore's district courthouses. However, in many cases, the judge not only denied their requests for decreased bail, but he actually increased the amount.
Bullock's parents, who are disputing the charges, say that it would be more productive for the system to release Bullock and charge him for the damage he caused.
"By turning himself in, he also let me know he was growing as a man, and he recognized what he did was wrong," Maurice Hawkins, Bullock's stepfather, told the Guardian. "But they are making an example him, and it's not right."