Marilyn Mosby burned most, if not all, of her bridges to Baltimore’s law enforcement community when she decided to prosecute and overcharge six Baltimore police officers and announced the decision with great fanfare. The fanfare brought her national celebrity including a Vogue magazine spread.
It also earned her the contempt of Baltimore’s police officers. The resulting demoralization of the police force has coincided with a steep increase in violent crime.
Yesterday, Mosby doubled down on attacking law enforcement. Having burned her bridges, she decided to flood the river.
Mosby held a press conference to announce the dropping of all remaining Freddie Gray charges. As Steve noted, she used the occasion to blast the police and the African-American judge who presided over the Gray trials and found several of the defendants not guilty.
This is bad form under any circumstances, but it’s almost criminal in Mosby’s case.
Why? Because she remains the city prosecutor. Barring the unforeseen, Mosby will prosecute criminal cases through 2018 in a city where the violent crime, including homicide, is soaring.
To prosecute these cases, she will have to work with the police force. Washington Post reporters Bill Turque and Elise Schmelzer state the obvious when they suggest that Mosby’s “angry, defiant appearance before reporters” will widen the breach with the police department — a breach that already was undermining her ability to work cooperatively with the force.
Why did Mosby opt for attacking the police rather than trying to make peace? Petulance is one answer. From all that appears, we’re not talking here about a mature individual.
Mosby may also be trying to save her political career. If she has a political future, surely it’s as the fighter who tried to bring justice for Freddie Gray, was undermined by the police, but refused to accept the unjust outcome.
I’m no expert on Baltimore politics, but Mosby appears to be drawing to an inside straight. I agree with Warren Brown, a former assistant state’s attorney who worked in the office before Mosby arrived. He told the Post:
I don’t think she can regain the trust of the white community, and the black community has been fractured. Their regard for her is fractured.
It should be fractured or worse. Mosby failed to convict any officer of anything in the Freddie Gray matter. Failure is failure, whether you’re Black or White.
Former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke takes a different view. He recalls becoming unpopular when he advocated legalizing illicit drugs, but turning the tide by patiently explaining his position:
The majority of citizens still disagreed with me, but they supported the fact that I didn’t waffle and I didn’t change my opinion. I think that’s what opponents of Marilyn are going to face two years from now.
But Mosby doesn’t seem to do patient explanations. Anyway, it’s one thing to explain a policy position and quite another to explain unsuccessfully prosecuting six police officers — some Black, some White — in the biggest case anyone in Baltimore can remember.