With two Baltimore officers now acquitted in the death of Freddie Gray, including Officer Caesar Goodson, the only one charged with murder, state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby faces the difficult choice of whether to proceed with four more trials.
Her decision almost certainly has to be “no,” and the criticism that she rushed to charge the six officers without sufficient evidence, if only to limit the growing civil unrest in Baltimore, now looks like a valid one.
Mosby, 36, had been state’s attorney for only four months when she held a press conference on the day she filed charges against the officers, and she admitted there was an extra component to her decision. “To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America, I heard your call for ‘No justice, no peace,’ ” Mosby said in a nationally broadcast statement on May 1, 2015, less than two weeks after Gray died on April 19. “Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man.” Five of the officers have since sued Mosby for defamation.
“What the state’s attorney promised everybody last May,” said Jeremy Eldridge, a former assistant state’s attorney now in private practice, “it’s pretty much clear it’s unsubstantiated and it’s an outright lie. This is a culmination of all three trials and the judge finally being able to be straightforward about the evidence,” she told the Washington Post.
“They need to cut their losses,” said Tyler Mann, another former Baltimore prosecutor now in private practice, “and say, ‘We gave it our best shot and it’s just not there…This judge is saying, ‘You don’t have it,’ and the undertone is, ‘You don’t have it and you have to realize you don’t have it.'”
The Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police is calling for Mosby to drop all charges against the other officers who are being prosecuted for actions involving Gray.
Lt. Gene Ryan spoke on behalf of the FOP Thursday afternoon, WJZ TV reports.
“We are very pleased and extremely grateful that Judge Williams has found Officer Caesar Goodson not guilty on all charges,” Ryan said.
“As anticipated, the facts of this case speak for themselves. Officer Goodson was not at fault. While we agree with the verdict in this case against Officer Goodson, we also suggest that Mrs. Mosby reconsider her malicious prosecution against the remaining four officers. We are more than certain that they, too, will be found to be without guilt. To continue this travesty is an insult to the taxpaying citizens of Baltimore who, at the end of the day, bear the full burden of the enormous costs of these trials that have no merit and continue to divide our city.”