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by Peter Moskos

July 27, 2016

All charges dropped against the Baltimore Six

Marilyn Mosby said she is dropping all charges against the six Baltimore Police officers in the custody death of Freddie Gray. In the press conference she sounded like a petulant child who was caught out doing bad, and so blames everybody else instead. "Systemic issues," she said. I think a voice of humility, noble humility, might have served her better. But then she's not trying to get my vote.

Former commissioner Batts, who lost his job over all this, was against criminal prosecution (or so went the rumor, now confirmed by Batts), hit back strongly against Mosby:
"She's immature, she's incompetent, she's vindictive and that's not how the justice system is supposed to work."
Come on Anthony, tell us what you really think.
"The justice system is supposed to be without bias for police officers, for African Americans, for everyone.... Don't create more flaws in that broken system," he said. "And you don't do it on the back of innocent people just to prove that point."
OK. Remember, this is coming from a black chief who basically once called the entirety of Baltimore's black police officers a bunch of Uncle Toms.

And Batts continued:
"There was no question that Freddie Gray should have gone home after that interaction. But sometimes when people are doing the job of police work, bad things happen sometimes."
"My heart bled for these officers as they went through these steps. I think Marilyn Mosby is in over her head... I didn't see any malice in the heart of those police officers. I don't think those officers involved are those you would put in the class of bad or malicious or evil police officers."

Batts said Mosby cannot make police her scapegoat by saying officers obstructed her investigation to protect their colleagues. "There was no obstruction," Batts said. "I would have taken off anyone's head if I knew they were obstructionist. … The judge said it: (The case) didn't have merit and you can't put that on anyone else."
Here's my question, what changed in the past few days that led Mosby to her decision. She could have announced this weeks ago. But she did so today. So something changed. Despite her solace in prayer, I don't think it was God telling her. Does anybody know?

Two ideas:

1) Word came from the top, perhaps the top of the Democratic party, perhaps via the mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who is secretary of the national Democratic Party. Rawlings-Blake defended the judge and said she "certain [does not] agree" with Mosby's comments disparaging the criminal justice system.

Now Mosby is an independent elected official. Does she know it's not normally wise to fight city hall?

I like this theory more:

2) Perhaps the new prosecuting team said they didn't want to move forward. The whole State's Attorney's Office is facing lawsuits related to unethical prosecution. And the charges, whether they're proved or not (I kinda doubt they will be) are not groundless. If you're a lawyer, perhaps you really do have objections to prosecuting a groundless case. You certainly should. But even if not, why would you want to open yourself up for hassles, lawsuits, and potential disbarment in a losing case?

Now we'll see how the internal discipline process works out. I'd love to be a fly on the wall of Commissioner Davis's office for these discussions.


Unknown said...

Theory 3: Schatzow and Bledsoe knew that the Kastigar hearing was going to bring out some very dirty laundry. Remember that last week the defense made a motion about the clean team (love that term) being tainted. Makes me wonder if the defense found something juicy.
In other news, the Cagle trial continues to barely make the local paper. I wonder why?

Unknown said...

Immature and incompetent, agreed.
Mosby was should be a deputy DA or a partner in private practice, not the State's Attorney. She is where she is because someoen wanted her (or someone from her demographic) in that spot.

David Woycechowsky said...

Maybe Mosby got the assurances she needed, from the people that mattered, that this was not going to happen again.

bacchys said...

Oh, there's a question on whether Freddie Gray should have lived through this encounter.

Because none of these officers is going to be held accountable in any way for failing to do their job and safeguard his welfare. These trials are as close as they'll get to punishment.

Which is more than the cops who killed Dondi Johnson got, so I suppose that's progress.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe Mosby got the assurances she needed, from the people that mattered, that this was not going to happen again."

Those would be empty assurances if any were made. No one tried to kill Gray. And you'll never get rid of screw-ups. Eventually in policing screw-ups end up with someone dead.

David Woycechowsky said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

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Unknown said...

Well lookie here,