Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby riveted the country just over a year ago, powerfully declaring that she would seek charges against all six officers connected to the arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray.
“To the people of Baltimore and demonstrators across America, I heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace,’ ” she said at a news conference in May 2015, evoking cheers from protestors exhausted by what appeared to be the latest case of police brutality against an African-American male.
Gray, 25, died one week after sustaining a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody.
Mosby now faces the wrath of mostly white justice officials and would-be pundits following two failed trials.
Circuit Judge Barry Williams cleared police officer Edward Nero Monday of all charges related to the Gray case.
Mosby, noticeably absent from the hearing, pushed hard for charges of reckless endangerment, two counts of misconduct in office and a controversial second-degree assault charge that alleged Nero failed to follow legal protocol before placing Gray in handcuffs.
Williams said in his ruling, “There are no credible facts to show that he was involved in the touching of Mr. Gray.”
And the December trial of Officer William Porter resulted in a hung jury. Jurors deliberated three days before Judge Williams declared a mistrial. Porter, who is Black, continues to face the same charges as Nero with an additional charge of involuntary manslaughter.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton called the 36-year-old prosecutor “inexperienced.”
“The district attorney down there was playing to the crowd,” Bratton told WNYC‘s Brian Lehrer. “She was inexperienced, she overcharged. In her rush to judgment, I think she had a totally inadequate investigation.”
The New York Times reports Hal Riedl, an investigator under the former state’s attorney, was especially harsh following the Nero verdict.
“I’d say it’s a new low in her career,” he said.
Riedl said he believed Mosby’s motive for prosecuting the officer was “totally political.”
“I don’t know why she was persuaded that she needed to bring the disorders to an end by charging the police,” he said.
Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, expressed similar thoughts, charging Mosby with capitalizing on a political window.
“The State Attorney’s office responded to the riots and violence in Baltimore by rushing to charge these Officers rashly and without any meaningful investigation,” he said in a statement. “They seized a political opportunity and in the process destroyed 6 lives and demolished the relationship between the Baltimore Police department and their own office.”
Black civic leaders were a bit more forgiving.
“We ask the people of Baltimore to let justice take its course,” said Catherine E. Pugh, Baltimore mayoral candidate and current state senator. “We trust our State’s Attorney’s Office is doing its best job. We ask the citizens of Baltimore to remain calm as we continue to move forward to justice for everybody.”
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings said, “Following Mr. Gray’s death, the citizens of Baltimore demanded justice, and it is clear that the wheels of justice are turning. I commend the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for its efforts to pursue justice, and I thank everyone who has worked on Mr. Nero’s trial.
Mosby has multiple opportunities for redemption as four more officers await trial for the case.