As if Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby didn’t already have enough on her plate these days, she recently released a list of the names of 305 police officers with “credibility and integrity issues.” To be fair, she had been ordered by the courts to release the list to a non-profit group that had sued to gain access to it. They of course immediately gave it to the press and the list was soon all over the news. Despite the list having been in existence since 2019, the police were somewhat blindsided to see it showing up on the front page without receiving word that it would be happening. The relationship between the police and Mosby had already been on the rocks for years, and this likely isn’t going to improve the situation. (Baltimore Sun)
A day after a list of 305 Baltimore police officers with credibility and integrity issues became public, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said he’s concerned the information will further erode the department’s relationship with the community and hurt officer morale.
Harrison said he had never seen the list before and was surprised to see some of the names, claiming the majority of the 177 officers listed who still work in the department did not have sustained complaints against them. The list includes several high-ranking officers within the department, including a former head of internal affairs and a former deputy chief of patrol.
“We would certainly hope there would be communication about the process of being added to any kind of list, instead of learning about it after the fact,” Harrison said in an interview Thursday.
It was immediately pointed out that this list being made public was only going to further erode trust between the public and the police force. That’s pretty much the precise opposite of what the department has been trying to do ever since the Freddie Gray riots. If the public doesn’t trust the police, they won’t call them when they see the gangbangers in their neighborhood breaking the law.
The list was supposedly created as a tool for prosecutors. It’s a “do not call” list that alerts prosecutors when calling a particular officer to testify in court could endanger their chances for a conviction if the defense called the credibility of the officer as a witness into question. But it appears that Mosby’s office had been very liberal in adding officers’ names to it, with some of the cops having had no significant credibility issues.
I’m sure the irony of Marilyn Mosby keeping a list of people with “integrity and credibility issues” isn’t lost on the members of the Baltimore PD. After all, Mosby is on her way to trial on fraud and perjury charges later this year. The City Council recently sent her a letter accusing her of violating the city’s ethics laws. Oh, and she’s also being investigated for campaign finance law violations. And all of that doesn’t even cover the mysterious way that she and her husband (the City Council president) somehow kept forgetting to pay their taxes and even their utility bills.
Mosby and the Baltimore Police have been on bad terms for years. They were unhappy with her when she decided to permanently stop prosecuting many types of crimes. The fact that she also seemed far more enthusiastic about prosecuting cops than the gangbangers the police did manage to bring in didn’t help matters either.
Sadly, the people who really pay the highest price for these conflicts are the law-abiding citizens of Charm City. If the ability of the cops to do their jobs is further weakened in a city with an out-of-control murder rate and rampant gang violence, things are not going to improve. And no matter which members of the Democratic pack the people elect every season, they seem to wind up with people who are less honest and credible than the last bunch. Let’s keep in mind that two of the last five mayors the city has had were forced to resign after being convicted of crimes. (One of them is still in prison.) Another didn’t even bother running for a second term after the city literally almost burned down on her watch. It’s kind of amazing that anyone is willing to keep living there.