BALTIMORE, MD – Marilyn Mosby, the Baltimore State Attorney best known for prosecuting six officers she believed was at fault for the in-custody death of Freddie Gray, a mission in which she miserably failed, is turning heads once again.
Mosby has determined that certain offenses will no longer be prosecuted by her office, and as a result, tossed out almost six hundred criminal arrest warrants.
Criminal cases in which she now refuses to prosecute include drug possession, paraphernalia possession, prostitution, trespassing, minor traffic offenses, open container of alcohol, rogue and vagabond, and urinating/defecating in public.
Mosby, besides failing to file criminal charges on those being arrested, also took it upon herself to file paperwork in front of a judge to dismiss all charges against those not taken into custody at the time of her decision.
— Paul Anforth (@paul_anforth) June 27, 2020
Her official reasoning for this action is to prevent people from being incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 in jails is still a major public health threat, and we want to slow the number of people entering the criminal justice system. As prosecutors, we are committed to protecting the safety and wellbeing of everyone in our community.
“We are not prosecuting certain offenses, so logically we do not want people to be held on warrants associated with those offenses. As we have shown in the three months since introducing our new policies, we can balance public health and public safety and this work continues along that path.”
Regardless of whether the pandemic is the real reason for her decision, this is not the first time she has made waves regarding criminal offenses.
In January of 2019, Mosby also decided that her office would no longer pursue marijuana charges, stating at a press conference:
“I’m announcing a monumental shift in public policy as it relates to marijuana possession in the city of Baltimore. Effective immediately, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office will no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases regardless of weight and/or criminal history.”
This would mean that someone caught with twenty kilos, something that would be trafficking in most states, would not even get so much as a citation.
In addition, Mosby filed court paperwork requesting that several thousand of marijuana convictions dating back to 2011, ranging from mere possession to trafficking, in Circuit and District Court.
The judges hearing the cases, Circuit Court Judge W Michel Pierson and District Court Judge Kathleen Sweeny, denied her motions. Judge Sweeny stated that her attempts at vacating these convictions were a conflict of interest because her duty was to be a witness for the state, and the way in which she filed the requests were done normally by defense attorneys.
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Thursday her office has eliminated 586 open warrants, and dismissed the underlying cases. https://t.co/io4ctwnew9
— WJZ | CBS Baltimore (@wjz) June 26, 2020
Mosby is proud of her efforts and the progressive changes she has brought to Baltimore.
In an email written to the Baltimore Sun, Mosby stated:
“The role that courts play in our society is to be a place of last resort for people who have been wronged. I am deeply disappointed that this ruling did not afford us any opportunity to present legal arguments and essentially eliminated the court from being a safe harbor for those that were harmed by the discriminatory enforcement of marijuana laws.”
Now, I will state that I do not know the statistics involving how many people of color were charged and convicted of marijuana possession versus white people, but I will point out the obvious: In these circumstances, ALL of the people who were brought to trial were convicted.
This means that either the accused accepted a plea deal or plead no contest to the criminal charges and accepted the conviction or they were found guilty in trial, regardless of the color of their skin.
Law Enforcement Today has brought you more news out of Baltimore recently. Here’s the latest story again.
Here’s a guy who we are apparently supposed to take seriously.
Former Baltimore Police Commissioner, Darryl De Sousa, recently made his first public appearance since his release from federal prison on tax evasion charges.
During this panel, De Sousa, told a panel audience that he supports defunding police departments.
The panel discussion took place Friday in Washington DC, at an event called “Black Cop: The Conversation of the Life, Roles and Solutions From Black Cops Who Care” and organized by the group Don’t Mute DC.
It was there that De Sousa made the call, saying:
“I’m a [proponent] of defunding. I’ve seen the signs, people protesting; I’ve heard the voices. I think it should be defunded. However, money should be reinvested right back into the community.”
While it’s something you would typically expect to hear from activists, this is particularly noteworthy coming from someone like De Sousa who served more than 30 years as a Baltimore Police officer before named commissioner in January 2018.
His tenure as commissioner was short lived as he was sentenced to ten months in federal prison, in March of 2019, on charges related to tax fraud.
De Sousa’s words are pretty interesting when you consider the following.
According to their own computer aided dispatch (CAD) records, Baltimore residents have to wait on average, 16 minutes, for a police response to a priority one call.
Baltimore generally classifies calls in four priorities.
Priority 1: High priority emergency-type calls and those involving serious crimes such as shootings, aggravated assaults, or robbery.
Priority 2: Medium priority, disturbance-type calls -such as neighbor/family disputes, missing persons, suspicious person, or drug activity-in the neighborhood.
Priority 3: Low priority property-type crimes, such as destruction of property, larceny, or auto theft.
Priority 4: Non-emergency calls in which no urgency exists, but police response is requested.
This means that if you’re in a life or death situation in Baltimore, you can expect to wait on average, 16 minutes for a response.
Imagine what that will look like if you “defund” the department. Year in and year out, Baltimore is consistently ranked among the most dangerous cities in America.
In 2017, 342 people were murdered in Baltimore. The city boasted a whopping rate of 2,027 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
Imagine that number if you defund a department who is already short on resources. The department is so understaffed that the federal judge overseeing the department’s consent decree, called it “alarming,” further stating that the lack of new hires “has become dire.”
This is the very same department that Darry De Sousa irresponsibly claimed he supported defunding.
As part of the consent decree signed in 2017, Baltimore was required to conduct a study of their staffing levels, the result was a 188 page review completed in August of 2018.
Among the many problematic findings that were related to lack of funding, the study found that the department was budgeted for 1,102 patrol officers, however, only 809 were staffed at the time.
This is the department that former commissioner, and now convicted felon, Darryl De Sousa wants to defund.
Darryl should look at the case of Vallejo, California, who tried defunding their department following the 2008 financial crisis.
While they made the decision more as a result of necessity as opposed to protest, the consequences were clear. The effects of defunding were so wide ranged, that even local pastor and activist, Danté Quick, who was a lead organizer in the George Floyd protests, has warned his fellow activists about the consequences of defunding.
“Our police department is woefully ‘defunded’ — which has led to overworked, underpaid and therefore underqualified police officers,” Quick said.
“Do I really want a man or woman who’s worked 16 hours straight, with a gun in their hand, with state-sanctioned ability to take my life, who is tired — do I want that person authorized to police me? The answer to that is no.”
Commissioner De Sousa might be enjoying the life of retirement, however, his reckless pandering was heard. Maybe Commissioner De Sousa should tell that to the hard-working, and often overworked members of his former department, who have to pick up the slack of being short over 300 patrol officers.
Maybe Commissioner De Sousa should look at the case of Vallejo, California, and see the unfortunate results of their defunding of the local police department. And while he’s at it, maybe he should pay his taxes too.
President Trump said 68% of 2019 Baltimore murders are unsolved. He was right. Yet we’d push to defund police?
BALTIMORE, MD.- President Trump has been known occasionally to come up with numbers off the top of his head, and sometimes he’s a little bit off. However, that is not the case where it concerns crime in Baltimore.
On Tuesday, the president was giving a speech on police reform, and mentioned that last year, over two-thirds of the murders in Baltimore went unsolved. That was confirmed later on Tuesday by the Baltimore Police Department.
WJZ-13 in Baltimore reported the president’s remarks.
“In many cases local law enforcement is underfunded, understaffed, and under supported,” the president said. “Forty seven percent of all murders in Chicago and 68% of all murders in Baltimore went without arrests last year.”
On Tuesday, the president signed an executive order in order to address police reforms after two high-profile police killings of black men over the past three weeks. The president’s order involves three components: credentialing and certifying police departments, boosting information-sharing to better track officers with excessive use-of-force complaints and creating services for addressing mental health, drug addition and homelessness.
While the executive order does not make federal funding contingent on implementation of those reforms, it does prioritize federal grants for department which meet those guidelines, according to CBS News.
In confirming the president’s statement on Tuesday, the Baltimore PD said they had a 31% homicide clearance rate in which cases were closed in 2019.
A spokesperson for the department said that since Commissioner Michael Harrison’s arrival, the department has reallocated assets and dedicated more funds to the homicide unit in the city, adding 14 new investigators to the unit.
The spokesperson said the department is currently focusing on staffing and reduction in caseloads for homicides in the city.
The clearance rate this far in 2020 is much improved, standing at 45%.
“The Baltimore Police Department recognizes the need to improve our Homicide clearance rate and continues to make the necessary changes to be more effective and efficient. There have been several important improvements made which include not only increasing staffing levels and developing training but implementing necessary accountability measures to improve investigations.
“Improving the clearance rate involves collaboration with the community and other local, state, and federal partners which the Baltimore police Department is committed to continue doing and expanding on,” the department said in a statement to WJZ.
“Overall, BPD recognizes the need for continuous improvement and is up for the challenge of changing this narrative. Our department embraces reforms because the residents of our city deserve a world-class police force that inspires trust, ensures safety, and protects the constitutional rights of the people we serve. Rebuilding trust is critical to a safer Baltimore.”
However, Baltimore may hit a bump in the road with getting crime under control. Jumping on the “defund the police” bandwagon, the City Council recently voted to remove $22 million from the police budget and direct it to public services.
“This round of cuts that came with these hearings have demonstrated the will of the people,” said Harrison. “We are really kind of a basic functioning police department. There are impacts. Some of them could be negative.”
City Council President Brandon Scott said of the cuts, “We are going to have to start responsibly reducing the city’s dependence on the police department’s budget so that we can reimagine public safety and investment.”
Mayor Jack Young, who is not in favor of cutting the police budget, has until July 1 to decide.
“I am certainly in favor of building those programs and funding those programs. I have only advocated that we be thoughtful, and we be careful about creating a gap in service.”
The cuts would mostly come from police overtime, although the marine and mounted units would also be cut. The chief could redirect money in order to keep them.
While the clearance rate for murders in Baltimore is up, so too is the murder rate. The city is currently ahead of the rate for last year, which was the second highest on record.
Meanwhile, President Trump, in signing the executive order on Tuesday, met with families of families of men who were killed in encounters with police officers. He met with the families of Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, and Cameron Lamb, as well as with the mother of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed while jogging in a Georgia neighborhood earlier this year.
Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother noted that President Trump was “very compassionate” when he met with the families affected. According to The Hill, she told Fox News that the president was “very receiving” and listened intently to all the participants during the closed-door meeting at the White House, where cameras were not permitted. That should take the left-leaning media’s “photo-op” narrative out of play.
“I was very, very emotional throughout the whole conference,” Cooper-Jones said. “He was very compassionate. He showed major concern for all families. Not just one family, but for all families.”
When asked by reporters if she was satisfied with Trump’s executive order, she said she didn’t think the order “was enough” but said it was definitely “a start.”
A GREAT woman. Her son is looking down from heaven & is very proud of his wonderful & loving mom!!! https://t.co/ZzKUbjlOOT
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 17, 2020
The families were accompanied to the meeting by Lee Merritt, an attorney, who then left to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on police use of force.
Merritt told ABC News that “tears were flowing” during the “heavy meeting” at the White House.
While Merritt acknowledged that the president’s concern was genuine, he expressed doubt that it would lead to meaningful reform.
“I believe it was genuine concern for each of the families represented,” Merritt said. He gave no indication that the families in that room reflected a problem in America, that policy could actually resolve it—and it can—so that was my concern.”
Merritt did acknowledge that the group “had secured a commitment to independent federal investigations of each of the families that accompanied me to the White House.”
We secured a commitment to independent federal investigations of each of the families that accompanied me to the White House.
This commitment is not currency. This commitment does not help save lives in the future but potentially will help these families get justice.
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) June 16, 2020
“This commitment is not currency. This commitment does not help save lives in the future but potentially will help these families get justice,”Merritt said in a tweet.
In his remarks at the signing, President Trump said:
“Many of these families lost their loved ones in deadly interactions with police. To all of the hurting families, I want you to know that all Americans mourn by your side. Your loved ones will not have died in vain. We are one nation. We grieve together and we heal together.”
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