The answer as to why Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby must go is simple enough: She has consistently shown herself unwilling or unable to put justice before race.
She has also conspicuously failed to grasp the idea that “justice” is due the accused, not the mobs howling for the heads of the accused.
Last Friday, Mosby applied her legal and racial populist ideas to the real world in charging six Baltimore police officers in the death of the late Freddie Gray.
Before a cheering crowd, Mosby showed that the mob has more hold on her than the law. “To the youth of the city, I will seek justice on your behalf. This is a moment. This is your moment,” said Mosby. “Our time is now.” Our time? Who, one wonders, comprised the “our”?
Her gift for racial demagoguery was not obvious when in June 2013 Mosby announced her intentions to challenge incumbent Democrat Gregg Bernstein for the job of Baltimore state’s attorney.
Mosby’s pitch at the time was that crime in Baltimore had spiraled out of control. “We wonder if our children are safe outside of our homes,” said Mosby. “We wonder if we’re safe inside of our homes.”
In the weekend prior, eight people in Baltimore had been murdered and 20 had been shot. White people were not doing the killing. That was understood.
If there was a racial element to the campaign it was Mosby’s implication that Bernstein, as a white man, did not care enough about black victims to keep criminals off the street.
As Mosby quickly proved, though, not all criminals were created equal. A month after her announcement, she was prominent among the hundred or so people gathered at Baltimore’s federal courthouse.
She was there to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida a year earlier.
“Arrest Zimmerman now,” Al Sharpton had shouted to an angry Florida mob a month after the shooting. The State of Florida obliged. “We had to march to even get a trial,” said Sharpton later more accurately than he knew.
By trial’s end, if Mosby had paid any attention, she would have known that Martin was the kind of vicious, street-fighting, dope-smoking thug she promised to remove from Baltimore’s streets.
But Martin was black, and Zimmerman wasn’t, and for Mosby and her councilman husband, Nick Mosby, that changed everything.
Although the State of Florida had done its best to deliver Zimmerman to the mob, a sequestered all-female jury, unaware of the mounting pressure, stuck to the evidence.
To punish the jurors and the state they lived in, Councilman Mosby called on city government officials to boycott Florida businesses.
“The marches and rallies are great, but when it relates to economics, it can drive change,” said Nick Mosby in August 2013. “Change” in this case could only mean the license to send innocent non-blacks to prison.
Nor was Mosby’s reaction to the Zimmerman acquittal a one-off. A year later, she would align herself with the forces of criminality after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
By the time the Ferguson grand jury cleared Officer Darren Wilson, Mosby had already been elected Baltimore state’s attorney.
In December 2014, a month before she took office, Mosby appeared on a black-oriented Baltimore area TV show in her role as prosecutor-elect. She was there to explain the grand jury process.
Mosby revealed more than she might have intended. She called the management of the case by St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch “problematic” and “rather questionable” and suggested race played a role in his decision-making.
“We have to question the motives,” she said. In summarizing the grand jury process, she pontificated, “Justice has not been applied fairly and equally.”
Missouri publishes its grand jury proceedings. If Mosby had read them, or even read the highlights, she would have known that Wilson was as free of blame as Zimmerman, more so given that his job required him to confront Brown.
The facts, however, did not appear to trouble Mosby. She confessed that the grand jury’s failure to indict Wilson “[tore] my heart apart as a mother.”
Like Bernstein in Baltimore, McCulloch, also a white Democrat, apparently had no such empathy. Mosby described him as someone who “does not share your interests and your values and is making decisions about your daily life.”
The “your” referred here to the black population of St. Louis County, Ferguson in particular. Mosby noted that the city was 68 percent black, and the way for its people to get justice, she implied, was by electing prosecutors like her who empathized.
“The oversight in the checks and balances are with the people,” Mosby argued. “It’s about accountability.”
If the “people” wanted to send innocent people to prison, possibly for the rest of their lives, that seemed to be perfectly OK with Mosby. She showed that in the Martin case, in the Brown case and in the Freddie Gray case.
In Baltimore last week, she was not trying to appease the “people” as some have claimed. She was trying to lead them, and that is a whole lot scarier proposition.
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