Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray back at the first of May, following the riots in Baltimore. She did so, not from a thorough investigation (she had hardly been on the job), but from the cries of the mob in Baltimore. Now, Mosby is attempting to release the findings of Gray’s autopsy, as well as other “sensitive” documents.
The Baltimore Sun reports:
Mosby told The Baltimore Sun that prosecutors “have a duty to ensure a fair and impartial process for all parties involved” and “will not be baited into litigating this case through the media.”
But an attorney for one of the officers said the effort shows that “there is something in that autopsy report that they are trying to hide.”
“Mrs. Mosby is the one who did an announcement discussing what she said the evidence was in a nationally televised speech,” said Ivan Bates, who represents Sgt. Alicia White. “Now that it is time to turn over the evidence, to ask for a protective order is beyond disingenuous.
“It’s as if she wants to do everything to make sure our clients do not get a fair trial.”
Baltimore’s chief prosecutor declared her intention to seek the protective order in a court filing Monday. She also asked for more time to respond to defense motions that she and her office be removed from the case and that the case be tried outside Baltimore.
I agree with Mr. Bates. There is no way to ensure what Mosby is declaring. Too many people have already been influenced by media hype and sensationalism, as well as the rioting because of Gray’s death. Just put out that information and let the chips fall where they will.
However, it isn’t just the release of documents that have defense attorneys concerned. Mosby’s office has also sought a gag order to prevent those involved from speaking to the public and has not provided the autopsy report to the Baltimore police, something that breaks with a long-standing practice.
But Bates contests all the secrecy.
“Mrs. Mosby is the one who did an announcement discussing what she said the evidence was in a nationally televised speech, and now that it is time to turn over the evidence, to ask for a protective order is beyond disingenuous,” Bates told the Sun. “It’s as if she wants to do everything to make sure our clients do not get a fair trial.”
“Nobody would know anything but the state and the defense, so they would totally hide it from the public,” Bates said. “If your case is as good as you said it was, why don’t you just show the evidence? … You can’t holler and say, ‘I’m about accountability for the citizens,’ and then run around filing for a protective order.”
Bates is right. Mosby is the one who took the entire thing public due to a mob mentality, not because she actually knew the facts of the case. In fact, this is something that was pointed out by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who called the rush to judgment and charges against the six officers, “George Zimmerman and Duke Lacrosse Cases All Over Again.”
It appears the media is on his side too. The Sun is one of 19 news outlets that is contesting the gag order.
Additionally, Gregg Leslie, legal defense director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said that the idea of a gag order, in this case, is not how things should be handled.
“They should have to show there is a compelling state interest served by keeping this confidential, and that their solution is the most narrowly tailored one,” Leslie said.
While video surrounding Gray’s arrest have been made public, we have also been witness to a video that captured a man arrested, who seem to fake harm from police while in their custody.
Gray died from complications he sustained while in police custody. While his criminal record is extensive, Gray was in the custody of police and they were responsible for his care. Conflicting reports have surfaced as to what happened between the time Gray was taken into custody and Gray’s admittance to a local hospital where he died.
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