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Maryland's Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele: Long-Boiling Anguish In Baltimore Has 'Finally Erupted'

04/30/2015 11:57 am ET

Maryland's former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele joined HuffPost Live on Thursday to weigh in on the unrest that has permeated Baltimore, Maryland since Freddie Gray died after sustaining injuries during police custody.

"In many respects it's been frustration personified. I think the anguish and the anger that has been boiling beneath the surface in Baltimore for quite sometime finally erupted," Steele told host Josh Zepps.

Steele said he hopes the protests will spur conversations about the "systemic issues that are deeply rooted in Baltimore."

When you're living in poverty, when you're living with poor educational facilities, when you're living without job opportunities, when the police and the criminal justice system is sort of built against you, this is what you get, ultimately. This is not an excuse or an explanation for violence, but contextualizing it becomes very, very important in how we move forward.

Steele also discussed the criticism President Obama has received for his comments on the outrage in Baltimore. Steele applauded him for shedding light on the issue and warned against "nitpicking" the president's use of the word "thug."

"I'm not going to get hung up on words. This is where we get off cycle. This is where we get out of sync -- when we start nitpicking about what a word means," he said. "Look, you may not be a thug, but you may engage in thuggish behavior. So let's just call it that. Let's just call the behavior what it is and not label the person."

Watch HuffPost Live's interview with Michael Steele in the video above.

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