“This is a case where the witness and the prosecutor are one and the same.”
Once again information emerges that Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby is an integral actor in the circumstances surrounding Freddie Gray’s arrest and death, rather than an objective prosecutor simply addressing a criminal case.
Roughly three weeks before Baltimore police officers arrested Gray for possession of an illegal knife Mosby herself was strongly advocating for substantially increased policing in the very neighborhood where Gray would be taken into custody, according to a report by the Baltimore Sun.
Lt. Kenneth Butler, a shift commander for more than a decade, and a representative for an advocacy group for women and minority officers, is quoted in the Sun report as saying that he had never before seen such orders come from the state’s attorney’s office. Further, he expressed no uncertainty about what the consequences would be: “Once you’re given an order, you have to carry it out. It’s just that simple.” And in terms of the tactics that would necessarily be involved?
They want increased productivity, whether it be car stops, field interviews, arrests — that’s what they mean by measurables. You have to use whatever tools you have — whether it be bike officers, cameras, foot officers, whatever you have — to abate that problem. So you’re going to have to be aggressive. (emphasis added)
The original source of the order is Mosby herself, according to emails unearthed by the defense counsel that were sent to the six police officers criminally charged in Gray’s death. In that email, Joshua Rosenblatt, the division chief of Mosby’s Crime Strategies unit writes:
State’s Attorney Mosby asked me to look into community concerns regarding drug dealing in the area [in which Gray would later be arrested] . . . [by] targeting that intersection for enhanced prosecutorial (and hopefully police) attention. (emphasis added)
Rosenblatt’s email was sent to Baltimore police Major Osborne Robinson, who then forwarded the message to several supervisory officers working the relevant neighborhood. Robinson also told these supervisory officers to begin “daily narcotics initiative . . . effective immediately” in the neighborhood, and cautioned that he would be collecting “daily measurables” on their performance.
One of those supervisory officers was Lieutenant Brian W. Rice, who would be one of three officers who placed Gray under arrest, and who is now charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault, and other offenses.
The defense lawyers for the six Baltimore police officers charged in Gray’s death are using the disclosure of Mosby’s advocacy for increased policing in Gray’s neighborhood as yet another argument for having her recused from the case. In a motion filed yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court they note that
Mrs. Mosby herself is now an integral part of the story and as such is a central witness. This is a case where the witness and the prosecutor are one and the same.
As usual, Mosby’s office has no substantive response to these new allegations, stating only that “Consistent with our prosecutorial obligations, we will litigate this case in the courtroom and not in the media.”
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