Marilyn Mosby, the Maryland state attorney for Baltimore who on Friday announced charges against six city police officers for the death of Freddie Gray, said last year that a St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown “breaks [her] heart” and that a special prosecutor should have been appointed to handle the case.
The revelation comes as Mosby is being asked to recuse herself and appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case against six Baltimore police officers now charged with a range of crimes in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.
Baltimore’s Fraternal Order of Police slammed Mosby’s charging announcement, calling it a “rush to judgement.” The group said that Mosby should recuse herself from the case because her husband, Nick Mosby, is a city councilman whose district encompasses the area where Gray was arrested earlier this month.
The organization fears that Nick Mosby’s reelection chances will be hurt if his wife does not throw the book at the officers.
“It is clear that your husband’s political future will be directly impacted, for better or worse, by the outcome of your investigation,” Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police president Gene Ryan said after Mosby’s charging announcement.
Protests held in Baltimore on behalf of justice for Gray gave way to riots and looting earlier this week.
Mosby is also close to Billy Murphy Jr., the attorney representing the Gray family. Murphy donated $5,000 to Mosby’s political campaign and was a member of her transition committee following her November election, the Baltimore Sun reported. The Sun did note that the Fraternal Order of Police also donated to Mosby’s campaign.
During a surprise press conference on Friday, Mosby announced charges against the officers involved in arresting and transporting Gray ranging from misconduct to involuntary manslaughter to second-degree depraved-heart murder.
Gray was arrested April 12 following an arrest which Mosby said on Friday was illegal. Mosby also said that officers failed to properly restrain Gray after placing him in a transport van. She said they also failed to provide medical care even after he asked for it. Gray suffered a broken neck and died on April 19. (RELATED: Six Baltimore Officers Charged In Freddie Gray’s Death)
Besides potential political and personal conflicts of interest, Marilyn Mosby and her husband have also spoken out publicly in other high-profile cases, including the cases of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, the Florida 17-year-old who was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in Feb. 2012.
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.
Though Mosby seemingly felt that the justice system failed by not returning a guilty verdict for Zimmerman, evidence strongly suggested that he shot Martin in self-defense as the teenager was straddling him and punching him in the face and slamming his head. (RELATED: Law Professor: Baltimore Officers Were Likely Overcharged, Charges Will Be Dismissed)
Nick Mosby went further than a mere rally in response to what he saw as an unjust verdict. The city councilman 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,” Mosby said in Aug. 2013.
Marilyn Mosby also publicly criticized Bob McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecutor who opened a grand jury investigation on Wilson.
Wilson, who is White, shot the 18-year-old Brown numerous times following an altercation on Aug. 9. Brown had just stolen cigars from a nearby convenience store. Witnesses saw Brown punch Wilson inside of his police car. After a chase, Wilson said he shot Brown after the man turned and charged at him.
In a panel discussion in December on News One Now, Mosby called McCulloch’s handling of that case “problematic” and “questionable” and strongly implied that racial dynamics were at play.
“We have to question the motives,” she said.
And germane to the Gray case, Mosby said that McCulloch’s handling of the Wilson grand jury was the reason that officials should “bring in special prosecutors.”
Despite her apparent support for the idea of special prosecutors, Mosby has given no indication that she believes that the Gray case warrants similar oversight, despite the numerous conflicts of interest at play.
Mosby also spoke of the racial dynamics at play during the Ferguson fallout.
Of McCulloch, she said, “so you have an individual that’s been in office, and does not share your interests and your values and is making decisions about your daily life.”
She noted that Ferguson is 68 percent black, and that only six percent of that population votes.
She said that the grand jury’s decision to not indict Wilson “tears my heart apart as a mother.”
“But I’ve got to tell you that I’m glad that we’re finally having the conversation and realizing how important that role of a prosecutor is and how awesome that discretion is,” Mosby said, adding that officials like McCulloch must be held accountable and that change occurs at the voting booth.