Opinion

Can Baltimore’s Leaders Take Responsibility For Anything?

Scott Greer Contributor

Another day, another embarrassing story for Baltimore City state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby.

Actually, this time she managed to double the humiliation with two bewildering reports in one single day.

First, it was uncovered Tuesday that Mosby filed a gag order for the Freddie Gray case…in the wrong court. (RELATED: Marilyn Mosby Filed Gag Order Motion IN THE WRONG COURT)

Second, and more damning, attorneys for the officers indicted for the death of Gray dug up a March order from Mosby’s office instructing policemen to expand their narcotics patrols in the area where the 25-year-old black man’s fateful arrest occurred in April.

That order could mean Mosby is trying to prosecute some of the officers for following her own instructions.

Gray was a known drug dealer to police who worked in his community. One reason cops arrested him was because he ran away from them. Mosby’s indictment charges three officers with false imprisonment for illegally detaining Gray — even though her instructions, as stated by the police division chief, say that cops should increase their “targeting” at the intersection where the arrest took place. The state’s attorney wanted “daily measurables” to show progress. (RELATED: Email: Marilyn Mosby ORDERED Cops To Ramp Up Drug Patrols In Area Where Freddie Gray Was Arrested)

The desired “measurables” are implied to mean more arrests and the confiscation of illicit drugs and weapons. When he was apprehended, Gray was carrying a knife that’s illegal to possess within Baltimore city limits. Thus, the arrest likely provided sufficient material for a prized measurable.

So if anyone is at fault for this allegedly questionable arrest, it’s Mosby herself. Yet, the state’s attorney is deflecting blame by turning the officers into scapegoats for a policy she herself promoted.

Rather than accepting responsibility alongside the charged cops, she’s placing the blame all on them and trying to appease the enraged mob with a punishing indictment. This prosecutor claims she’s out to deliver justice, but the latest news makes it appear she’s deflecting blame for her role in implementing policies that led to the death of Freddie Gray. (RELATED: Baltimore Needs A Prosecutor Like Bob McCulloch, Not Marilyn Mosby)

Along with her numerous conflicts of interest and publicly stated biases, Mosby’s drug patrol directive is just another indication of the state’s attorney troubling track record. But this disgrace reflects a trait that other Baltimore leaders share: a reluctance to accept responsibility for their actions.

Take the city’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, for instance. It was abundantly clear to nearly all observers that she did a poor job handling the riots which erupted last month and her confusing orders to police — such as the now famous directive to give space to those who wished to destroy — only exacerbated the damage.

But if you expected her to take ownership for her embarrassing job performance, you were thinking of the wrong mayor.

Rawlings-Blake instead blamed the media for the “mischaracterizion of my words” and lambasted the coverage of the violence. She also was adamant that her response to the crisis was a-ok and represented “a delicate balancing act to respond but not over-respond.”

The police commissioner also concurred with this non-acceptance of blame for a response many found lacking.

However, the mayor did apologize for one part of her response — calling the rioters “thugs.” (RELATED: Baltimore’s Mayor Apologizes For Using The ‘T-Word’)

Several other city leaders blamed the media for focusing on the riot coverage. Apparently, reporters should’ve ignored the burning buildings in favor of the few peaceful protests on the nights of April 25 and 27.

And when it came to laying the blame for who instigated and participated in the riots, a few mysterious “outside agitators” were held responsible by city officials. In reality, the vast majority of rioters arrested were locals and more than 200 individuals were detained in relation to the violence. The disturbance also caused an estimated $9 million in damage to local businesses.

But, according to local leaders, the riots were a media-created occurrence involving only a few people that weren’t worth covering.

This elaborate blame game and refusal to accept responsibility on the part of Baltimore’s leadership class explains why Mosby would be perfectly fine with prosecuting cops for following her orders. If the mayor, the city council and police commissioner can watch their own city burn and not take ownership of that situation, then how we can expect the woman entrusted with delivering justice to do the same?

While some prefer to point at the tough-on-crime policies enacted by former mayor Martin O’Malley as the culprit for Baltimore’s unrest, it makes more sense to look at Baltimore’s current leaders for irresponsibly allowing the town to descend into chaos. Especially in light of the rising murder rate that appears to be a result of the city backing away from O’Malley’s tough-on-crime measures.

If Charm City wants to resolve its unrest and reduce its out-of-control murder rate, it’s going to need new leadership.

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