Councilman Ryan Dorsey on eve of primary election: ‘Don’t vote for Marilyn Mosby’

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Councilman Ryan Dorsey, left (via Twitter) and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, via campaign website.

A day before the polls open for regular voting in this year’s primary election, the Baltimore City Council’s most progressive member has called on voters to reject the incumbent state’s attorney.

“Don’t vote for Marilyn Mosby,” Dorsey wrote on Facebook this morning, launching into a critical tirade about Mosby’s history of dealing with controversial cases, namely that of Tyrone West. He added soon after, “She never reopened [West’s] case and promptly began ignoring the family of Tyrone West and their supporters once she was in office.”

West was killed in a July 2013 confrontation with Baltimore and Morgan State University police officers that arose from a traffic stop. His family and supporters have rallied every week for West Wednesday, seeking accountability from police for his death.

None of the eight officers were ever charged. An initial state autopsy found West died of cardiac arrhythmia, though a subsequent independent autopsy commissioned by West’s family determined he died from suffocation while being restrained. The family received a combined $1 million settlement from the city and state last year, ending a civil suit over his death. However, West’s sister, Tawanda Jones, removed herself from the case so she could continue protesting and raising awareness about her brother’s death.

Dorsey wrote that Mosby gained backers during her 2014 campaign “by promising to reopen” the case—The Sun has reported she criticized Bernstein’s administration for a lack of “transparency” in the investigation—but has since declined to open it back up, and has rejected requests to meet with both himself and Jones.

As Dorsey tells it, Mosby last year “VERY reluctantly agreed” to a sit-down with himself and Jones after the 3rd District councilman promised it would be an unrecorded “civil conversation.” But on the day of the meeting, he says, Mosby declined to allow him into room. She instead brought Jones in and, per Dorsey, “asked Tawanda why she thought she had to go to me in the first place, gaslighting her after years of refusing to meet.”

Dorsey says he spoke with Jones afterward, and then had what he described as a confrontational, one-minute meeting with Mosby where she “stood over me hollering and wagging her finger.”

“These are the dishonest and irrational actions of someone who should not be in a position of power or authority, and cannot be trusted to pursue justice,” he wrote.

He added that Mosby asked for a “truce” last year upon learning that defense attorney Ivan Bates would be running against her in this year’s election. “A truce was not what I believe was in order. Her attitude was not rational.”

Mosby’s campaign has not responded to multiple requests for comment on Dorsey’s note.

In an interview with the Real News Network from last April, Mosby told interviewer Baynard Woods she had “a great rapport” with Jones and other members of West’s family, and praised them for raising issues about police brutality before the issue came to dominate the national conversation.

Mosby recalled a meeting with the family in which she told them the earliest and most important parts of the investigation took place under her predecessor, “so the things that I would need to contradict, or to challenge, my predecessor’s assessment of that case, I don’t necessarily have.”

When Woods brought up the independent autopsy, Mosby said that pitting one medical professional’s opinion against another does not necessarily translate to establishing criminal culpability.

During the campaign, Mosby has faced criticism from two challengers, Bates and private defense attorney Thiru Vignarajah, over Baltimore’s three-year spike in murders coinciding with her first term, her office’s falling clearance rate for felonies and most recently, her administration’s pursuit of murder charges in the controversial case against Keith Davis Jr.

Amid criticism from challengers and activists, Mosby has retained the support of numerous Baltimore elected officials and three of her predecessors, per The Sun‘s Justin Fenton, as well as black community and faith leaders and prominent defense attorneys like Warren Brown and Billy Murphy. U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) has also endorsed her campaign.

Dorsey has gone public with endorsements (or anti-endorsements) in other local races, backing incumbent state Sen. Jill Carter over Martin O’Malley’s son-in-law, J.D. Merrill, in the 41st District, and incumbent Del. Robbyn Lewis in the 46th District while criticizing challenger Nate Loewentheil. He also endorsed Caylin Young and Stephanie Smith for delegate in the 45th District, and Nilesh Kalyanaraman for Delegate in the 43rd District.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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