Yesterday, it was announced that six officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray would be charged with crimes ranging from second-degree depraved heart murder to assault to false imprisonment.
Making that announcement was Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, a 35-year-old prosecutor who has been on the job for just over four months. Her words showed that the city was planning to hold the police officers responsible for their actions, while acknowledging that not all cops are bad.
“To the rank-and-file officers of the Baltimore Police Department, please know that these accusations of these six officers are not an indictment of the entire force,” Mosby said at yesterday’s press conference. “I come from five generations of law enforcement. My father was an officer. My mother was an officer … My recently departed and beloved grandfather was one of the founding members of the first black police organization in Massachusetts.”
And while she acknowledged that there are hardworking, honest members of the BPD, she also chastised whoever it was from inside the force that leaked evidence to the press. Although she didn’t come right out and say it, she was most likely talking about the Washington Post report that used police documents to posit the theory that Freddie Gray somehow managed to almost completely sever his own spine in the back of the police van that day.
“While I am committed to transparency, what I have revealed here today is now a matter of public record. However, the evidence we have collected and continue to collect cannot ethically be released to the public and I strongly condemn anyone in law enforcement with access to trial evidence who has leaked information prior resolution of this case. You are are only damaging our ability to conduct a fair and impartial process for all parties involved.
Mosby also spoke directly to those who are angry, those who feel as though the justice system has failed them.
“To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America: I heard your call for ‘No justice, no peace.’ Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man.
To those that are angry, hurt or have their own experiences of injustice at the hands of police officers: I urge you to channel that energy peacefully as we prosecute this case. I have heard your calls for ‘No justice, no peace,’ however your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of Freddie Gray.”
She ended the press conference with a message for the city’s youth, who have been so involved in the events surrounding the protests over Gray’s death.
“Last, but certainly not least, to the youth of this city: I will seek justice on your behalf. This is a moment. This is your moment. Let’s insure we have peaceful and productive rallies that will develop structural and systemic changes for generations to come. You’re at the forefront of this cause, and as young people, our time is now.”
Mosby’s words and actions yesterday instilled in many in the city — and across the country — a hope that maybe, must maybe, the system can change. Maybe it can work for everyone and not only against some.
Watch yesterday’s full press conference.