The Maryland prosecutor who brought charges Friday against six Baltimore police officers within hours of receiving a medical examiner’s report on the death of Freddie Gray is facing accusations that her swift action was over zealous and perhaps politically motivated.
The Baltimore police union leader, Gene Ryan, made the most clear-cut accusations, after he raised concerns about Marilyn Mosby being married to City Councilman Nick Mosby.
“It is clear that your husband’s political future will be impacted, for better or worse, by the outcome of your investigation,” Ryan, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, wrote Mosby after her Friday announcement.
He also argued Mosby has a conflict of interest because she received campaign contributions from Gray’s family attorney William Murphy. Ryan asked that she appoint a special prosecutor to avoid the appearance of impropriety or of violating the rules of professional responsibility.
Gray, a 25-year-old black man, suffered a severe neck injury at some point April 12 while being arrested by officers or being transported in a police wagon. He died April 19.
Mosby said she brought the numerous and powerful charges, including second-degree murder and manslaughter, based on her office’s investigation and the medical examiner’s report that concluded Gray’s death was a homicide.
Critics of the decisions by Mosby, on the job for just four months, suggested her swift decision and the extent of the charges are politically motived — based in large part on her saying during her announcement Friday, “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.”
Still, the 35-year-old Mosby comes from a long line of police officers — including both parents and aunts and uncles, which has supporters expressing confidence that she will be fair in the case.
“She has a natural affinity for police officers and law enforcement types, and at the same time, she is aware of the incredible number of complaints against the Baltimore City police department,” Richard Woods, a Baltimore-based attorney and Mosby political supporter, has told reporters.
Heather Hansen, a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer, told Fox News on Saturday that Murphy’s political contributions, Mosby’s marriage and that a member of her office having a personal relationship with a local reporter raise concerns.
“All of these things seem to lend themselves to the idea of a conflict of interest,” she said.
Hansen also said she was surprised that the case didn’t go to a grand jury, like those recently in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y., in which a young black male died while in contact with police.
“It’s an extremely quick decision,” Hansen said. “All of those cases have gone to the grand jury. … That in and of itself causes me some concern.”