After charging a half-dozen police in connection with Freddie Gray’s death, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby was photographed in Vogue and invited onstage with Prince. But with a judge’s decision to acquit Officer Edward Nero of four charges more than a year later, the glare is becoming more intense.
Criticism of Mosby’s decision to charge the officers in the week following the unrest isn’t new. Almost immediately after she stood on the War Memorial steps and announced the charges, Baltimore’s police union said the charges were politically motivated and accused her of overreach.
The union doubled down after Judge Barry Williams announced his not guilty verdict. With the real trial evidence, that criticism is echoing among national media figures. Mosby has faced plenty of local criticism for her handling of police brutality cases in recent months, but the stories reflect a change in the national media reception of Mosby. New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton told the New York Daily News that the city’s top prosecutor was “playing to the crowd” when she charged the officers, and called her “inexperienced.”
“In her rush to judgment I believe she had a totally inadequate investigation,” he said. “All she did was kick the can down the road. If she had taken more time to investigate she might not have overcharged.”
In this AP story, former civil rights prosecutor David Weinstein also ripped Mosby’s “rush to judgement,” and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz said, “the public ought to make her pay a price for seeking to distort justice.”
It was even a cue for an off-color remark by Rush Limbaugh.
Following December’s mistrial in the case against Officer William Porter, the Nero verdict was the first clear win or loss in the Gray case. Five trials remain in the case this year, and with each comes a new chance to silence critics with a conviction.
Among those watching in Baltimore, there are signs of more nuanced views. Tawanda Jones, who was called for justice in her brother’s police brutality case at weekly “West Wednesday” events, told the New York Times, “At the end of the day, I just look at the fact that she did something.”
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