In March, Marilyn Mosby directed Baltimore police to ramp up narcotics patrols with increased “targeting” at an intersection near where Freddie Gray was later arrested, according to an email from an official in the Baltimore city state’s attorney’s office.
“State’s Attorney Mosby asked me to look into community concerns regarding drug dealing in the area of North Ave and Mount St,” wrote Joshua Rosenblatt, the division chief of Crime Strategies Unit, in a March 17 email to Western District police commander Major Osborne Robinson, a Western District police commander.
The Baltimore Sun reported the email, which was contained in a motion filed Tuesday by the attorneys for the six officers arrested for Gray’s April 12 arrest and his April 19 death. Gray was arrested after running from police just two blocks from the intersection identified for targeting by Mosby.
In the email, Rosenblatt wrote that police should address crime by “targeting that intersection for enhanced prosecutorial (and hopefully police) attention.”
Mosby’s instructions to Rosenblatt are significant because they indicate that the officers who chased and arrested Gray may have been acting on orders from their commanders and not out of their own ill intent.
Adding even more significance to the email is that one of the three bicycle patrol officers charged in the case, Lt. Brian Rice, was instructed by Robinson — via Mosby — to undertake a “daily narcotics initiative” focused on the intersection.
Robinson forwarded Rosenblatt’s email on March 20 to Rice and several other Western officers. According to the attorneys’ motion, Robinson instructed officers that “effective immediately” they should collect “daily measurables” — seemingly a reference to arrests and recovery of drugs and weapons.
Rice stands charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office. Mosby has publicly stated that Rice and two other patrol officers, Edward Nero and Garrett Miller, illegally arrested Gray.
“It must be understood that Mrs. Mosby was directing these officers to one of the highest crime intersections in Baltimore City and asking them to make arrests, conduct surveillance, and stop crime,” the officers’ attorneys wrote in their motion, according to The Sun.
Gray had a long criminal history, including a drug arrest on March 20, the very same day that Robinson forwarded Rosenblatt’s email to Nero and other Western officers.
In addition to that arrest, which was for possession of a controlled dangerous substance, Gray had at least 17 other arrests on his record, many of which were for drug charges. (RELATED: Freddie Gray Had A Long Rap Sheet)
During Gray’s April 12 arrest, he reportedly began running after making eye contact with Rice. Video surveillance shows Gray darting into and out of buildings as he was being pursued. When officers finally caught Gray, they found a spring-action knife tucked inside of his waist band. The knife is illegal inside Baltimore city limits.
After being placed in a police transport van, Gray suffered an injury to his head. After a half hour drive to the police station, Gray was transported to a hospital. He later fell into a coma and died. His death was ruled a homicide.
According to The Sun, Mosby directed Rosenblatt to contact police about increase drug patrols after she was contacted by a group that identified a “drug shop located directly outside of their facilities.”
“I realize that resources are thin for a long-term investigation, but hopefully we can combine community involvement with [the state’s attorney’s office and police department] cooperation to make something happen,” Rosenblatt wrote in his March 17 email to Robinson.