In the latest salvo in the Freddie Gray case, the office of Baltimore city state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby is accusing the attorneys for six officers charged in the 25-year-old’s death of “spew[ing] invective, hoping that vitriol will trump logic.”
In a motion filed Wednesday, Mosby’s chief deputy, Michael Schatzow, responded to the defense attorneys’ calls for the 35-year-old prosecutor to recuse herself from the case because of her personal and political conflicts of interest.
“They make arguments for which they can find no authority,” Schatzow said of the defense lawyers. “They distort facts when they do not invent them. They abhor logic, so they do not use it.”
In his latest missive, first published by The Baltimore Sun, Schatzow responded to a defense motion filed last week which claimed that Mosby directed the police department’s Western district to beef up narcotics patrols at an intersection near where Gray was apprehended on April 12. After being detained and put in a police van, Gray suffered a broken neck at some point during the ride to central booking. He died a week later.
Mosby has publicly stated that the officers detained Gray without probable cause.
But in their motion last week, defense attorneys cited a March 17 email Joshua Rosenblatt, the division chief of Crime Strategies Unit in Mosby’s office, to Western District police commander Major Osborne Robinson. The email indicated that Mosby herself wanted police officers to target suspected drug dealers. (RELATED: Marilyn Mosby ORDERED Cops To Ramp Up Drug Patrols In Area Where Freddie Gray Was Arrested)
“State’s Attorney Mosby asked me to look into community concerns regarding drug dealing in the area of North Ave and Mount St,” wrote Rosenblatt.
Police should begin “targeting that intersection for enhanced prosecutorial (and hopefully police) attention,” he added.
Robinson in turn forwarded the directive to cops within the district, including Lt. Brian Rice, one of the three officers who initiated Gray’s arrest. Rice and the five other accused officers face a total of 28 felony charges.
Besides arguing that the email shows that Mosby wanted police to act even without probable cause, the cops’ attorneys asserted in their motion that Mosby’s directive makes her a possible witness in the case. But Schatzow pushed back strongly against the claim, and took issue with characterizing Mosby call for more narcotics controls a “directive.”
“This filing set a new low in this case for distortion and outright false statements,” Schatzow wrote. He said the attorneys wrongly seized “upon the perfectly proper and innocuous fact that Mrs. Mosby asked the Division Chief of the Crime strategies unit of the state’s attorney’s office for Baltimore city to ‘look into community concerns regarding drug dealing in the area of North Ave [sic] and Mount St.'”
“Defendants falsely assert that Mrs. Mosby ‘directed’ police activity at that. location, and thus is a ‘central witness,'” Schatzow added.
He said that Mosby did not direct police to do anything and instead simply asked the Western district commander if “they would be interested in a collaborative effort” to fight drug crime.
“This is a fairy tale,” Schatzow said of the defense motion.
Gray had a long rap sheet, including numerous arrests for drug-related offenses. In fact, he was arrested on March 20, the same day that the Robinson, the Western district commander, forwarded the memo from Mosby’s office to Western cops, including Lt. Rice.
It is unknown yet whether Rice or the other two officers accompanying him knew Gray before they stopped him or if they were aware of his drug history.
Schatzow’s latest response is also interesting for what it doesn’t say. In the 15-page document he seemingly lists the totality of the accusations against the officers when he defends Mosby against claims that she directed the officers to act in any way.
“Mrs. Mosby did not direct the Defendants to chase Mr. Gray; she did not direct them to arrest him; she did not
direct them to handcuff him and place him in a police wagon without putting him in a seat belt, in violation of a General order; she did not direct them to shackle his legs and put him back in the wagon on the floor handcuffed and shackled, but not in a seatbelt, in violation of a General order; she did not direct the Defendants to ignore Mr. Gray’s requests for a medic; she did not direct Defendants to ignore Mr. Gray’s medical condition; and she did not direct Defendants to pick up another individual in the wagon instead of taking Mr. Gray to the hospital.”
Before Mosby announced charges against the officers on May 1, it had been widely speculated that Gray was the victim of what’s been dubbed a “rough ride.” That’s where police purposely drive a transport van erratically in order to injure an inmate. That Schatzow does not assert that Mosby did not instruct the officers to directly harm Gray could be an indication that the case against the officers does not include evidence of a “rough ride.”
Mosby has repeatedly declined to discuss her evidence against the officers, saying she doesn’t want to litigate the case in the media.