Imagine the poor Baltimore police officer working the streets today after witnessing the snarling, venomous version of events offered by State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby after the remaining charges against three wrongly-accused officers were dropped this week.
Mosby’s press event featured a defeated chief prosecutor who came out firing, pointing her finger of blame at the Baltimore police, at the criminal justice system, at inherent bias, at the media, and sub silentio at African American judge Barry G. Williams, who had the audacity to actually listen to every bit of the admissible (and inadmissible) evidence and decide against each and every count that her pawns brought into his courtroom.
Mosby insisted she took an oath to treat every individual equally and fairly under the law but few believe she did so — especially when she publicly announced on several occasions how she would tirelessly seek justice for the Gray family — never once mentioning her sworn duty to seek justice for all. And as she lectured on the ethical obligation to seek justice over convictions, her demeanor showed nothing but contempt for a system that delivered the former rather than the latter.
Mosby condemned a criminal justice system that produces few convictions of police officers, suggesting the system needs dramatic change. What would the level-headed rising star of Vogue magazine and Prince concerts suggest — perhaps a lower standard of proof to secure cop convictions? Maybe the dispensing with actual evidence of a police crime and replacing it with that which Judge Williams said her prosecutors brought to the Baltimore officer trials — inference, supposition, innuendo?
Marilyn Mosby, in her judgments and her temperament, has demonstrated she is ill-suited for the position she was elected to. She lacked insight into the failure of these cases, failed to see their limitations at the time she sought indictments and sees only conspiracy now. Mosby’s performance on Wednesday strongly suggests she can’t distinguish between justice and vengeance.
She sent senior, seasoned prosecutors into Judge Williams’ courtroom with little more than a black top hat and a wand, expecting them to produce a rabbit. Instead, Williams peered into the hat, saw no rabbit, but did see rabbit pellets. And he had the backbone to say so in successive bench trials.
Mosby got one thing right in her angry, accusatory diatribe — she noted that if she tried these cases 100 times she would lose 100 times. Correct! But she missed the “why?” Rather than the reasons for failure she spewed, she overlooked the abject lack of probative evidence her office put before the judge. She overlooked the dubious approach that proffered, alternatively, that Gray carried a legal knife; that late-arriving officers should have conducted a street-side probable cause hearing before touching a detainee, or that Gray received a “rough ride.” All prosecution theories, all lacking in proof.
Mosby’s rabid performance can only give Baltimore cops one more reason to pull further back from the marginal, discretionary policing that’s needed to push back on violent crime in that troubled city, or to look for work elsewhere.