Right Hooks

Baltimore Ends Witch Hunt Against Police

After $14 million in taxpayer funds wasted...

Jordan Candler · Jul. 28, 2016

It’s been an embarrassing and, hopefully, career-ending few months for Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby. That city’s witch hunt against six of its police officers charged with causing the death of career criminal Freddie Gray began falling apart almost immediately. First came the trial of Officer William Porter. Then Edward Nero, followed by Caesar Goodson. Three trials, and not a single conviction. It appears the memo finally got through this week: Mosby ended her pursuit of criminal liability against the remaining officers. But what havoc she wreaked along the way.

Consider the cost. The Baltimore Sun reports, “The state’s attorney’s office and Police Department, which bought riot gear and paid officers overtime in anticipation of protests, spent an estimated $7.4 million on the trials, city officials said Wednesday. In addition, the city reached a $6.4 million settlement last year with Gray’s family.”

Those millions of taxpayer dollars were wasted because one rogue prosecutor tried to make a name for herself. As The Wall Street Journal writes, “[T]his case has always defied easy stereotyping. Ms. Mosby is African American, but so are three of the six officers who were charged.” And the cost goes far beyond the financial. “The dramatic increase in murders since the Freddie Gray case is one indication of the price the people of Baltimore will be paying for some time to come,” the Journal adds, referring to the chilling effect the case has had on the city’s policing efforts.

Yet Mosby insists the fault lies elsewhere. Wednesday she claimed, “What we realized very early on in this case is that police investigating police … was problematic.” Mosby went on to throw the police department and Judge Barry Williams under the bus: “There was a reluctance and an obvious bias that was consistently exemplified, not by the entire Baltimore Police Department, but by individuals within the Baltimore Police Department at every stage of the investigation. … [T]he judge has made it clear that he does not agree with the state’s theory of the case and does not believe that any of the actions or inactions of these officers rise to the level of criminality.”

She concludes, “This system is in need of reform when it comes to police accountability.” It’s certainly in need of reform — beginning with removing a recklessly ambitious prosecutor. As The Washington Post observes, “Mosby’s promises of justice nearly 15 months ago calmed a violent, broken city, bringing her instant national celebrity … and talk of a sky’s-the-limit political future.” That was the motivation.

Now we await justice for the police.


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