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Sean Yoes

The trial of Baltimore City police Lt. Brian Rice, the fourth trial (another bench trial) of the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray began earlier this week. So far, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is winless — there has been a mistrial and two acquittals — in her search for justice in the death of Freddie Gray last April, which was ruled a homicide.

At the end of the last trial, for Caesar Goodson, the van driver the prosecution accused of delivering the so-called, “rough ride,” which allegedly led to Gray’s ultimate demise, Mosby was seen in the courtroom shaking her head after the, “not guilty,” verdicts of Judge Barry Williams were rendered.

Clearly, the pressure to deliver a guilty verdict in one of these trials continues to mount on the State’s Attorney.

However, added to Mosby’s burden is the egregious specter of threats on her life.

According to WBAL-TV (as reported recently in the AFRO), there has been a litany of threatening emails (the news organization obtained through a Public Information Act request) directed at Mosby and her husband Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby. One anonymous emailer sent a fake news account of Marilyn Mosby’s murder.

“Marilyn Mosby was gunned down in cold blood walking into the courthouse. Not one officer came to assist. A police statement simply read, `Sucks to be her.’ Nobody will miss that (expletive),” the account reads.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting the cowardly trolls who spew this venom are somehow connected officially or unofficially to the FOP or do I believe the union condones their actions. But, I do believe their bunker mentality and often unwavering position when it comes to plausible charges of police brutality and misconduct gives some cover to those who would unleash this type of hate-filled vitriol or worse.

“You are out of your mind,” another emailer wrote. “When the violence starts and they turn their anger on you, maybe the officers will be a little slow to react. You are a cop hater. Marilyn Mosby is nothing but a (expletive) Black Panther (expletive). She should be hung.”

The position of FOP unions across the nation is united and unequivocal; either your with us or against us. And indicting police officers for, “fulfilling their duties,” means you’re against us.

“Not one of the officers involved in this tragic situation left home in the morning with the anticipation that someone with whom they interacted would not go home that night,” wrote FOP President Gene Ryan in a letter to Mosby, which asked her to recuse herself. The letter was released moments before she announced charges against the six officers. “As tragic as this situation is, none of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Mr. Gray,” Ryan continued. Yet, the fact remains, Gray entered that police wagon last April alive, when he exited his death was imminent.

When Mosby announced charges against officers Porter, Nero, Goodson, Rice, White and Miller on May 1, 2015, she launched an almost unprecedented salvo against Baltimore police. In 30 years prior to her action, only five officers had previously been indicted for killing a suspect while on duty in Baltimore, only one was convicted and that conviction was overturned on appeal.

Mosby had effectively become Public Enemy Number One of the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge Number Three, and many members of the rank and file and they have acted accordingly ever since.

The truth is the Fraternal Order of Police is one of the most powerful political lobbies in the country. And Maryland’s FOP is among the most potent and their Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights is the oldest and most expansive in the nation.

And although the Black Lives Matter movement has received significant media coverage in the wake of Ferguson (Michael Brown), Cleveland (Tamir Rice), Staten Island (Eric Garner) and now Freddie Gray, there are millions of Americans still invested in the “traditional” role of American law enforcement rooted historically in the practice of antebellum slave catching. They are emboldened by the fact that no officers were indicted in the cases of Brown, Rice or Garner. And they are enraged by the fact Mosby would even try in the case of Freddie Gray.

Sean Yoes is a senior contributor for the AFRO and is host and executive producer of, “First Edition,” which airs Monday through Friday, 5-7 pm on WEAA, 88.9.

 

Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor