Baltimore will be better and stronger as law enforcement officers, the community and public officials work together following the unrest that has erupted on the streets as a result of the in-custody death of Freddie Gray. That is the goal of the new United States attorney general Loretta Lynch.
Lynch said she was overwhelmed with profound sadness as she saw the riot scenes in Baltimore. Meeting with clergy and community leaders, Lynch heard the community’s anguish over Gray’s death while he was in police custody. The 25-year-old man had an injury to his spine. The top law enforcement officer in the United States said Gray’s death, along with other recent events in Baltimore, had led to “a serious erosion of public trust.”
An investigation has started into the allegations that officers from the local police department in Baltimore had used deadly force, conducted unlawful seizures, searches and arrests and engaged in policing that was discriminatory, she said on Friday. Due to the scale and nature of the investigation, it is expected to take months to complete. Not only will a written report on the investigation’s findings by the Justice Department be completed, but the goal is to reach a settlement that is approved by the court with promises for change.
In saying this, the attorney general said the goal of the Justice Department is to work with law enforcement officers, the community and public officials to create a better and stronger Baltimore. Lynch said the American government is not intent on involving itself in the work of thousands of police departments across the country. The Department of Justice does not want to review or investigate every local police department in the United States, instead it is a resource to be used when needed, she said.
It is the belief of the top law enforcement officer in the United States that local police departments and communities know their areas best. They are also in a position to devise their own solutions and sometimes this is with the help of the Department of Justice.
Meanwhile, the legal representatives for the six police officers from Baltimore, on charges relating to the arrest and death of Gray, filed a motion for dismissal of the case on Friday. The attorneys are also insisting that Marilyn Mosby, the state’s attorney, recuse herself.
The attorneys’ 109-page motion states that the prosecutor faced a number of conflicts of interest. In charges against the six police officers filed by Mosby, she has claimed Gray was arrested illegally and despite asking for medical attention, he did not receive it. He died on April 19. The 25-year-old man was arrested a week prior to his death following a pursuit by police.
The motion cites that Mosby, along with city councilman for Baltimore, Nick Mosby, who is her husband will benefit financially and politically through the case. Nick Mosby has a personal and professional interest in the Baltimore riots being eliminated and property destruction being stopped, since the events have been occurring in his political district.
Mosby’s deputy state’s attorney, Janice Bledsoe, is romantically involved with Jayne Miller, a reporter for WBAL, the motion also states. Miller is a potential witness since she interviewed 22-year-old Donta Allen, who was with Gray in the police van. Allen’s police statement differs from what he told the journalist.
The motion notes a political relationship between Mosby and the Gray family’s attorney, Billy Murphy Jr. Murphy Jr. gave a $5,000 donation to Mosby for her state’s attorney campaign. Mosby also appointed Murphy Jr. to her transition committee.
Mosby’s office was also involved in investigating Gray’s case. The staff members involved will be called as witnesses, but they will be under their boss’s influence, who wants a conviction.
The motion also states that a civil lawsuit has been filed against Mosby’s office. The lawsuit claims unlawful detention and arrest of the six police officers.
However, Mosby believes there is no conflict of interest. While all this is going on, Lynch is focusing her attentions on working with local police officers, the community and public officials in creating a better and stronger Baltimore.
By Rebecca Brown
Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Davis Jr., Maryland National Guard Public Affairs Office – Creativecommons Flickr License