Those are the laudatory terms used to describe Baltimore City state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby — the prosecutor who swiftly charged six police officers in connection with the death of Freddie Gray.
Mosby’s forcefully delivered announcement of the indictment that promised justice for the apparent injustice last month won her a fanbase and appeased the angry crowds in Baltimore. But while her rockstar status may be cemented, the evidence that she is coming to this case with a predetermined bias is mounting and the calls for her recusal are increasing.
Just last week, it was discovered that Mosby had favorited tweets that called the six officers she charged for the death of Gray “thugs” and praised her work for infuriating “a certain kind of white person.” Knowing how bad this looked, Mosby resorted to the new “dog ate my homework” excuse that her Twitter account was hacked when these favorites occurred. (RELATED: Marilyn Mosby Sticks To Twitter Hack Claim, Says She Does Not Endorse Anti-Cop, Anti-White Tweets)
But, unfortunately for her, those tweets aren’t the only detail that calls Mosby’s judgment into question; and when it comes to her conflicts of interest, she can’t claim someone hacked into her personal life.
Arguably the most damning conflict of interest for Mosby is her relationship with Gray family attorney Billy Murphy Jr. Murphy donated $5,000 to Mosby’s campaign to become the Baltimore City state’s attorney and she rewarded him with a spot on her transition committee. The new state’s attorney also dropped charges against a Baltimore police officer Murphy was representing in an animal cruelty case while she continued to pursue charges against another cop involved in the same case who was not represented by Murphy. (RELATED: How A Dog’s Slit Throat Could Factor Into The Freddie Gray Case)
The other conflict of interest is the fact that her husband, Nick Mosby, is a Baltimore City councilman who represents the area of the city which witnessed the lion’s share of rioting in April and where Freddie Gray was arrested. According to the lawyers representing the charged officers, Councilman Mosby is set to gain politically from the case and has a “clear professional and personal interest in the need to eliminate the rioting and destruction of personal property in his District.” (RELATED: Baltimore Cops File Motion To Dismiss Freddie Gray Case)
There are other minor conflicts that include an unprofessional public appearance after the indictment and a fiery speech Mosby gave before the investigation had even completed where she said she said she would “pursue justice by any and all means necessary.” (RELATED: Marilyn Mosby Gave A Fiery Speech About Freddie Gray Days Before Police Concluded Investigation)
There’s also the little matter that Mosby took only a few minutes upon receiving filings to the court for applications of criminal charges to issue arrest warrants for the indicted cops, an amount of time lawyers for the officers claim was far too short for a proper investigation into the charges to occur.
Mosby’s behavior stands in stark contrast to that of another prosecutor assigned to a recent case marked by civil unrest and racial division. That prosecutor is Bob McCulloch, the St. Louis County district attorney who was given the thankless task of handling the firestorm in Ferguson, Missouri.
Unlike Mosby, McCulloch didn’t rush to charge Darren Wilson with the murder of Michael Brown, and instead ordered an extensive grand jury investigation that thoroughly scavenged all the facts and circumstances of the fatal shooting. McCulloch even allowed witness testimony he knew to be untrue to be heard by the grand jury to ensure all sides of the case were heard.
When he announced the decision not to indict Wilson — a tough choice considering it would set off rioting and lead to more social unrest — the St. Louis DA was calm and resolute in stating the facts surrounding the controversial incident and thoroughly detailed why his office wasn’t pursuing charges against the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown.
Unlike Mosby’s announcement that seemed more concerned with appealing to the biased media and unruly rioters, McCulloch’s action appeared just.
But there is one thing they have in common — both were called upon to recuse themselves from their respective cases. You might wonder if the argument for McCulloch’s recusal involved him favoriting tweets that called Brown a thug or if he was close pals with Officer Wilson’s attorney. Actually, he didn’t do any of those things and the evidence for his recusal pales in comparison with Mosby’s shenanigans.
Several Ferguson protesters and advocates wanted McCulloch gone because of an alleged bias the attorney had towards police because he came from a cop family and some of his past decisions came down on the side of law enforcement. Critics also questioned his objectivity since he once charged Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses fame with misdeamanor assault after the rock singer’s actions caused a riot during a 1991 St. Louis area concert. Needless to say, no one ever praised him as a rockstar after his indictment of a real-life one.
Immediately after McCulloch’s November verdict came down, his critics renewed their attacks on the district attoreny and claimed his decision was proof he was biased towards police. These same critics were conspicuously silent after the March release of the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report affirmed the St. Louis DA’s reasoning for no indictment.
It would be nice if the prosecuting attorney in Baltimore could have the same objectivity, thoroughness and commitment to justice that McCulloch demonstrated in Ferguson. Sadly, Mosby has shown only bias and rushed judgment in the case of Freddie Gray — and that bodes ill for her home town.
As last week’s exoneration of a Cleveland police officer involved in a dubious shooting shows, an overambitious prosecutor can set cops possibly involved in wrong-doing free. Mosby’s possible overcharging and biased actions could result in not-guilty verdicts for the officers she’s going after, regardless of whether their actions were directly responsible for the death of Freddie Gray.
Or, even worse, it could result in the conviction of six innocent law enforcement officers.
Regardless of what happens, justice doesn’t seem to be the top priority in the Baltimore City state’s attorney office and that will reflect on the eventual outcome of the case — unless the trial is moved out of the city.
What the city needs now more than ever is a prosecuting attorney who carefully weighs the facts and is more concerned with justice than appeasing outraged protesters and media pundits.
What Baltimore needs right now is a prosecutor who indicts riot-causing rockstars, not a prosecutor who’s becoming a riot-causing rockstar herself.