Malik Shabazz knows that many don't want him here in Baltimore. And for them, he has bad news.
"I'm here for the long haul," Shabazz told reporters Friday at a news conference after Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that six officers would be charged in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.
"They can say what they want about me not being invited, or being welcomed here," said the national president of Black Lawyers for Justice. "Justice comes about through men like me coming on to the scene and taking a hard line. And I take a hard line for justice."
The 48-year-old will lead a second march Saturday, at which he expects thousands. The group led hundreds last week from the Gilmor Homes housing project where Gray was arrested to a rally at City Hall.
On Saturday, Shabazz plans a march with the same route and added a youth march starting at North and Pennsylvania avenues, which experienced the worst of riots that broke out in the city Monday. Shabazz promised that the latest rally would not only be bigger but feature a sound system and more speakers.
Shabazz also congratulated the city's youth, who engaged in a violent exchange with police Monday that sparked a night of rioting throughout the city, for starting a "Baltimore rebellion."
"Whether you like what they did or not, they are part of the reason why we're here," Shabazz said. "The eyes of the world would not be in Baltimore, and justice would not be in Baltimore if there were not some uncompromising youth … who beat them streets, beat the pavement, and stood up to the police."
Fliers advertising the march for Saturday were toned down from previous ones that advertised a rally against "the brutality of the Baltimore Police Department" and proclaimed, "Shut 'Em Down."
Revised leaflets went out Friday advertising a youth rally "against police brutality and in support of the pain and suffering of Baltimore."
Shabazz is a Washington lawyer who has made anti-Semitic statements in the past and previously served as the national chairman of the New Black Panther Party. He also ran unsuccessfully for the Washington, D.C., City Council.