Please Don't Recuse Yourself or Dismiss charges against Baltimore Police!

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Please Don't Recuse Yourself or Dismiss charges against Baltimore Police!

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On April 19, 2015 25-year old Freddie Gray, a Black male resident of Baltimore, Maryland died due to injuries he sustained while in police custody following his arrest on April 12th. Weeks of nationally televised protests and outrage followed, culminating in Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake calling for a State of Emergency, citywide curfew, and introduction of the National Guard. Marilyn J. Mosby, State's Attorney of Baltimore City, held a press conference and announced probable cause for charging the six officers involved with several charges including second-degree manslaughter.

Many people of various racial/ethnic, religious, and political identities, both in and outside of Baltimore were inspired and relieved by Mosby's decision. All across the United States, police officers have assaulted and killed unarmed and innocent Black people with impunity and in epidemic proportions. In most cases, the officers responsible either were not charged with a crime at all, or were exonerated in court.  Such repeated behavior over several decades sends a clear and unacceptable message that Black lives don't matter, and that police officers are unaccountable for their actions. 

In response to Mrs. Mosby's announcement, Gene Ryan - President of the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police - wrote a letter to the Baltimore State Attorney's Office citing conflicts of interest and calling for Mrs. Mosby to recuse herself from the case and appoint an independent prosecutor. Ryan had the audacity to write, "None of the officers involved were responsible for the death of Mr. Gray," despite contrary evidence from your office's thorough investigation and the Medical Examiner's report. This blatant refusal to accept their responsibility as civil servants, and to in effect, deem themselves "above the law," is precisely why your leadership is needed. Adding insult to injury, all six attorneys for the police officers involved supported this action by filing a Joint Motion for Dismissal/Recusal

We the undersigned stand in strong support of Marilyn J. Mosby and the office she represents, in her efforts to provide justice, hope, transparency, and corrective measures in Baltimore. We applaud your announcement that you're dropping charges against Baltimore residents that violated the unlawful curfew. We support your efforts to reform the criminal justice system with your newly announced Aim to B'More Program, which aims to reduce recidivism and unemployment rates in Baltimore. We commend your conviction and strength in this matter, and we appreciate your attempt to uphold "justice for everyone."

Mrs. Mosby, we know you face tremendous national scrutiny and pressure from police unions and their allies, the corporate media, and possibly even family members that were formerly police officers. We know forces in and outside of Baltimore City are moving to discredit you, defame you, and neutralize your ability to go forward in prosecuting the six officers involved. But we stand with you, and humbly request that you stand your ground, enforce the law fairly, refuse to resign, and refuse to voluntarily recuse yourself and your office from this case. Doing so will send a clear message that Black lives (like others) DO matter, and that no one is above the law, particularly those charged with enforcing it.  Leadership like yours might help to eliminate acts of police misconduct and the consequent rebellions and community distrust such acts provoke.

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