Marilyn Mosby, the Baltimore City state’s attorney who has filed charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, is a left-wing activist first and a prosecutor second. She couldn’t have made this clearer last weekend when she turned up at Prince’s rock concert in Baltimore. She not only attended the de facto anti-police political rally but appeared on stage with the performer.
The concert was called a “Rally 4 Peace,” which served as a rally for railroading the police officers. Revealing the ideological character of the event, Prince spoke of Michael Brown as a victim of police brutality, a position that Mosby evidently holds too, despite the fact that even Eric Holder’s Justice Department concluded that the police officer who shot Brown did nothing illegal.
Mosby angrily rejects calls for a special prosecutor in Freddie Gray’s case. She sees no conflict of interest in her marriage to a Baltimore city councilman who represents Gray’s neighborhood or in her political ties to his family’s lawyer. But in the case of Michael Brown, according to the Daily Caller, her perspective on what constitutes a conflict of interest was strict and unforgiving. She called for a special prosecutor in that case, pointing not to any tangible conflict of interest for St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch but to his alleged lack of sensitivity. His inability to manipulate the grand jury into indicting Darren Wilson, she said, “tears my heart apart as a mother.”
The Daily Caller also noted her open activism in the George Zimmerman case: “After Zimmerman’s acquittal of second-degree murder in July 2013, Marilyn Mosby attended a protest rally held at the federal courthouse in Baltimore. She spoke along with pastor Jamal Bryant, who has been a prominent figure in the media during the Gray case. They were joined by activist Faraji Muhammad and spoke about young black men being targeted for violence.” Mosby’s husband even called for the boycotting of Florida businesses over the verdict.
It is easy to see why the six Baltimore police officers are trembling at the prospect of a trial under a prosecutor who thinks Darren Wilson was wrong to use force against an attacking suspect or George Zimmerman deserved decades in prison for an act of self-defense. As the overtly political tone of her charging statement indicated, she is animated more by ideology than by evidence. To an anarchic crowd of anti-police activists, she telegraphed her sympathies: “To those that are angry, hurt or have their own experiences of injustice at the hands of police officers I urge you to channel that energy peacefully as we prosecute this case. I have heard your calls for ‘No justice, no peace,’ however your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of Freddie Gray.”
The supposedly damning information in the charging statement against the officers sounded astonishingly thin and subjective. What did the officers do to Gray exactly? She didn’t cite any actual evidence that they beat him up. She left the cause of his death vague: it is “believed to be the result of a fatal injury that occurred while Mr. Gray was unrestrained by a seatbelt in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department wagon.”
For grave charges that start with “second-degree depraved heart murder,” all she’s got apparently is that the officers didn’t put a seatbelt on Gray and didn’t call medics quickly enough. And even that “evidence” is open to wide interpretation. What she is casting in a sinister light may just have been good-faith mistakes or even defensible decisions under difficult circumstances. Not putting a seatbelt on a resistant suspect is hardly a felony.
Criminalizing debatable acts of omission is the mark not of an impartial prosecutor but a politicized one. Mosby belongs to a circle of activists that considers the ruination of a few police officers as a small price to pay for a more progressive society. She has said recently that she will seek “justice by any and all means necessary.” That is the rhetoric of revolution, not justice.
In most cities, appeasing a mob with a trumped-up arrest of police officers would sink a prosecutor’s career. But in Baltimore, it launches one. Mosby knows that if her case disintegrates the mob will still reward her politically. In the Michael Brown case, she questioned the “motives” of prosecutors. What about her own? By standing with Prince instead of police officers, by joining in the chants of “no justice, no peace,” she reveals that her primary interest lies not in justice or peace but in the accumulation of power.