Marilyn Mosby is a Hamstrung Hero

Reflecting on the terrible outcome of the trials of the police who killed Freddie Gray, one thought keeps coming back to me: Marilyn Mosby is a true patriot and a hamstrung hero.

There are myriad obstacles to police accountability in the case of malfeasance and those obstacles, individually are intensely strong. Often, charges are never considered and police misconduct (violence only being one example) either is swept away or solely reported to civilian review boards. When charges are even considered, the DAs responsible for prosecution rarely elect to prosecute and, when they do, frequently opt for a grand jury and perform terribly so as to nearly assure no charges are brought.

Marilyn Mosby did bring the six officers before grand jury hearings, but got almost all charges for which she asked. Further, by all accounts, she worked hard to get convictions in these cases. While she didn’t succeed in that, she peeled back more layers of the onion, displaying more barriers to accountability than some other cases.

Police who were not charged refused to cooperate, delayed in providing evidence, and even worked to undermine the charges. Officers who were witnesses actually worked the cases and the judge was predisposed to find the officers in question not guilty (the officers opted for bench trials for this reason*).

All this add up to Mosby not being able to secure justice for Freddie Gray, despite standing by her (and the medical examiner’s) original assessment that this was a homicide. In this way, Marilyn Mosby has been hamstrung.

However, it also means that we know more about the systemic hindrances to police accountability within our various court systems. This, and her unwavering conviction that a crime was committed, makes her a hero.

*Mosby decided to drop the remaining charges when she learned the officers yet to go to trial would be heard by the same judge.