By Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been almost three years since the six Baltimore Police Department (BPD) officers charged in the homicide of Freddie Gray were officially indicted by a grand jury.
This week, a court blocked a defamation lawsuit by five of the six officers against Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby (police van driver Caesar Goodson was the only officer charged in the case who did not file a lawsuit against Mosby). The five other officers; William Porter, Alicia White, Edward Nero, Brian Rice and Garrett Miller, argued they were charged without sufficient evidence, in an effort to assuage anger following the uprising after Gray’s funeral April 27, 2015.
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby was facing a defamation suit, among other things, for her role in prosecuting several police officers. (Twitter)
“They claim that her role in independently investigating their conduct strips her of absolute prosecutorial immunity and that their bare allegations of malice or gross negligence overcome Maryland’s statutory immunity protections. We resoundly reject the invitation to cast aside decades of Supreme Court and circuit precedent to narrow the immunity prosecutors enjoy. And we find no justification for denying Mosby the protection from suit that the Maryland legislature has granted her,” wrote Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory in his opinion for the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. That 4th Circuit’s ruling overturned a 2017 decision in the U.S. District Court that allowed the officers to sue Mosby for defamation, invasion of privacy and malicious prosecution.
“I support the court’s opinion that the people of Baltimore elected me to deliver one standard of justice for all, and that using the legal system to reach a fair and just resolution to Gray’s death was not a political move, but rather it was my duty,” said Mosby in a statement emailed to the Baltimore Sun.
Mosby faces two challengers in the upcoming June 26 Democratic primary: veteran defense attorney Ivan Bates and former Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah. According to the Sun, both Vignarajah and Bates have grown frustrated with their lack of opportunities to confront Mosby in a formal debate setting. However, Vignarajah complained via Twitter on Apr. 30, both Mosby and Bates have been missing in action for debates.
“I have accepted invitations to each of the seven scheduled State’s Attorney debates and shown up to everyone,” Vignarajah wrote. “I’m disappointed my two opponents, combined have gone to none. I’ll keep showing up, and I hope one day they do too.”