Two prominent women with both powerful influence and considerable political ambition were in the eye of the media storm all through the Freddie Gray trials in Baltimore these past couple of years. One was Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who famously held the police back to “give those who wished to destroy space to do that” as rioters were burning down her city. The other was state’s attorney Marilyn J. Mosby. Married to Baltimore City Council member and recent mayoral candidate Nick Mosby, she’s one half of a power couple who shared lofty goals for political prominence. Unfortunately, she’s also the same person who stood on the steps of City Hall during the riots and promised to deliver “Justice for Freddie Gray“ rather than simply justice for all in the city.
In the end, the entire debacle left both women tremendously damaged politically, with Rawlings-Blake deciding not to run for another term as mayor and Mosby’s future highly uncertain. Now, in an interview published at Essence, the Mayor seems to have decided that Mosby is no longer worth covering for and is letting people know that the trials of the police officers involved in the original incident were mishandled and it was pretty much Mosby’s fault.
Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is accusing stat’s attorney Marilyn J. Mosby of bowing to political pressure after rushing to prosecute the six officers involved in the Freddie Gray investigation.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Rawlings-Blake believes Mosby should have told the public that she needed more time to conduct s thorough investigation. “The political pressure is real when you are in big jobs, and you can’t bow to the political pressure and charge when you’re not ready. You have to stand up, be in the big role and say to the people … you need time to continue to investigate,” she said.
The mayor’s comments come after a recent profile of Mosby for The New York Times Magazine in which the attorney accused the mayor along with then-police commissioner Anthony Batts of misinforming the public and setting artificial time tables.
It’s likely true that this very public food fight might not have come about if it weren’t for that piece in New York Times Magazine. I read it earlier this week and began working on a column about it, but eventually decided against it. It’s a very long piece from a reporter who was invited to spend family time with the Mosbys on multiple occasions and really dig into their lives. Much of it is flattering, painting the couple as victims of circumstances in some ways, but it also delivers some fairly damning indictments against the state’s attorney. When she revealed that she felt Mayor Rawlings-Blake might have been at fault for some of the handling of the Freddie Gray police trials, though, that seems to have been a bridge too far for the Mayor.
The faults cited by the Mayor won’t come as any sort of shocking revelations to anyone who’s been paying attention. The idea of “bowing to political pressure” is a bit of a misnomer because Mosby’s decision to almost immediately file charges against the police officers was initially more a case of bowing to the demands of the rioters threatening to destroy the city. That’s rather ironic, since it was Rawlings-Blake herself who initially bowed to that pressure when parts of the downtown district were starting to go up in flames. But her accusation of rushing into the process before a full investigation of Gray’s death could be conducted is clearly true. More surprising was her revelation that Mosby had wanted her to hold back information on the Freddie Gray incident from the public, a request which she refused. That led to the trial taking place in the media long before a jury could ever be summoned.
The very public scrap between these two is probably just a symptom of their struggles to maintain some sort of relevance. Rawlings-Blake landed a plum speaking slot at the Democratic convention and is now (somehow) considered a power player in the DNC after the exit of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. She’s also a regular feature on cable news as an election commentator. But with the ghost of the Freddie Gray riots and subsequent trials hanging over her head it’s tough to imagine her finding her way to higher office absent an appointment of some sort. Mosby appears to be done, with no career lifeboat to jump into. But the reality is that both of them share in the blame for the ongoing disaster in Baltimore, where the violent crime rate continues to spiral out of control, even if it’s overshadowed by the ongoing apocalypse in Chicago. Seeing the two of them in an embarrassing public spat like this is simply a side-show.