We may be getting a better sense of why things have gone so completely off the rails in Charm City when it comes to their seemingly intractable murder and gang violence problem. The Baltimore Sun conducted an extensive interview this week with State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, in which they put the tough questions to these law enforcement leaders. Mosby is best known for her embarrassing, abject failure in the Freddie Gray police trials. Davis took over as Police Commissioner in the wake of the riots and has been kept on after the new mayor, Catherine Pugh, took office.
When asked about the murder rate and what they planned to do about it, a few of their answers were startling to say the least. For one thing, while acknowledging the fact that there were far less killings only a few years ago, they immediately rejected taking any lessons away from that era. (Emphasis added)
[Mosby and Dais] say they are overseeing crime-fighting in a different climate than six years ago, when the city experienced fewer than 200 homicides for the first time in decades. Both officials claimed those past gains were achieved using heavy-handed tactics that have been disavowed.
“There was a price to pay for” the drop below 200 homicides, a price “that manifested itself in April and May of 2015,” Davis said, referring to the uprising following the death of Freddie Gray. “I think the long view is that doing it the right way is doing it the hard way, and I think most Baltimoreans realize that the way forward is not always going to be easy.”
So let me get this straight. Under your watch the city is now on track to have more than 300 homicides for the third straight year. Six years ago the number was below 200. That’s still not great, but it’s fully one third less. And you’re saying that the “heavy-handed tactics” which achieved those levels have been disavowed and we won’t be returning to the past?
Mosby and Davis went on to say that they are leading during “historic times” and that the challenges faced by their predecessors “pale in comparison” to the burden they now bear. Really? Clearly you weren’t around the city in the nineties. What they’re basically saying is that their jobs are just so much harder than they would have been in the good old days. That’s a flimsy claim at best, but even if it were true.. you asked for these jobs. If you can’t do them, get out of the way and find somebody who can.
Here’s another data point from the interview. You may recall that we recently looked at the new Mayor’s proposal to toughen up gun crime laws, with a one year minimum sentence for illegally possessing a handgun. The city council has since watered that bill down to the point of irrelevance and it still hasn’t even come up for a vote, but Mosby was clearly not onboard with it.
Mayor Pugh’s proposal to impose a one-year mandatory minimum on anyone convicted of illegally possessing a handgun. Pugh and Davis were joined by a slew of city and state officials to announce the bill, but the city’s top prosecutor was noticeably absent. While Mosby eventually expressed her support for the legislation, she did not offer testimony to the City Council in support.
With this dynamic duo in charge, is it any wonder that zero progress is being made in curbing the murder rate and tamping down the gangs? None of this is coming from a lack of information on Mosby’s part. She knows full well that those “heavy-handed tactics” were what let the gangbangers know that the city was serious and put killers behind bars. But she’s afraid of the way it might look in the press. And when someone comes along with a plan to just possibly get the illegal gun owners off the streets and into jail cells, she balks at it.
Exit question: How does Marilyn Mosby still have a job?