Several weeks before Freddie Gray was chased from a West Baltimore corner by three Baltimore police officers, which was the start of a fatal encounter, the office of prosecutor Marilyn Mosby asked police to target the intersection with “enhanced” drug enforcement efforts, court documents show.
The Baltimore Sun reported:
“State’s Attorney Mosby asked me to look into community concerns regarding drug dealing in the area of North Ave and Mount St,” Joshua Rosenblatt, division chief of Mosby’s Crime Strategies Unit, wrote in a March 17 email to a Western District police commander.
The email was disclosed for the first time Tuesday in a motion filed in Baltimore Circuit Court by defense attorneys for the six officers being prosecuted in Gray’s arrest and death. The attorneys said Mosby’s involvement in the police initiative means that she should be removed from the case.
“Mrs. Mosby herself is now an integral part of the story and as such is a central witness,” the defense attorneys argued. “This is a case where the witness and the prosecutor are one and the same.”
Mosby, through spokeswoman Rochelle Ritchie, said, “Consistent with our prosecutorial obligations, we will litigate this case in the courtroom and not in the media.” Mosby’s office received the motion Tuesday afternoon, Ritchie said.
Mosby’s office has dismissed previous defense calls for her recusal, including those based on conflict-of-interest allegations stemming from her husband’s post as city councilman in the district where Gray was arrested.
In their motion Tuesday, defense attorneys said the email exchange shows that Mosby knew the area where Gray was chased was a high-crime location. They said that bolsters their argument that officers were within their rights to detain and handcuff Gray — even before finding a knife and officially arresting him.
“It must be understood that Mrs. Mosby was directing these officers to one of the highest crime intersections in Baltimore City and asking them to make arrests, conduct surveillance, and stop crime,” the defense attorneys wrote. “Now, the State is apparently making the unimaginable argument that the police officers are not allowed to use handcuffs to protect their safety and prevent flight in an investigatory detention where the suspect fled in a high crime area and actually had a weapon on him.”
Defense lawyers for police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody have called for Marilyn Mosby to step down as prosecutor, citing an email calling for increased police activity. (Baltimore Sun video)
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