It’s a damning quote.
“The fact of the matter is that I think this prosecution was commenced by people who were concerned about community reaction. People should not be accused of a crime to have a community satisfied.” — prominent defense lawyer Barry Slotnick
Poor Obama. He just had another round of bad news from the Freddie Grey trial. Not just once, but twice. The Grey case is gradually winding its way through the law courts. Of the cases where the jury reached a verdict (there was one hung jury) the Defendants are a perfect 3-and-0.
Reaction to the acquittals show us just how divided the country is becoming. Interviews with Baltimore residents sometimes had a disturbingly cynical response. It was some variation of “the fix was in”, or “the system is corrupt”, or there is “no justice”. As one example: “All six officers that’s involved with the Freddie Gray trial, all of them will be found not guilty and the reason why is because the system is biased.”
You will notice how this reaction assumes the guilt of the officers charged. (Is there no longer a presumption of innocence if you are wearing a badge?)
Meanwhile, from Day One, one law professor had serious doubts about whether these charges ever had any legal leg to stand on. He’s not the only one.
We have now seen the third acquittal, this time of Lt. Rice, the highest-ranking of the officers charged in the Grey case. The State has been unable to prove specific guilt against any specific officer for the death of Grey. To recap, this means the highest-ranking officer charged was cleared of charges, as was the driver of the van. If there wasn’t enough to convict these, how likely do you think it is that charges will stand against the others?
Here’s what Attorney Warren Brown had to say about it. “I think what you are seeing is the result of a rushed investigation. You’re witnessing the results of a rush to prosecution.”
“If the state had done a thorough investigation in this case and made an intellectually honest decision I think they would have concluded that we don’t know what happened in the back of that van,” he went on to say.
Why would there be a rush to prosecute the police? Could it be the mobs burning down half the city on the international news networks? Could it be throwaway statements like the one Obama made about Freddie’s death? “Unfortunately you know we’ve seen these police related killings or deaths too often now, and obviously everybody is starting to realize that this is not just an isolated incident in Ferguson or New York but we’ve got some broader issues.”
Does this not sound like Obama is commenting about the officers’ deliberate intent? Other public figures might get the benefit of the doubt, but POTUS has played the divisive cared far too often for me to give it to him.
It would not surprise me in the least if we learned that Obama personally leaned on officials to proceed with these charges.
But the officials who laid these charges may now wish they had not done so. Not only are their cases against the defendants consistently losing, but a prof at GWU is now calling for them to be disbarred.
He is the same professor that filed a complaint last month against Ms Mosby, alleging misconduct for bringing charges without sufficient evidence. Now he is filing disbarment complaints. From the Washington Times:
They are “against Baltimore Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow and Deputy State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe, the lead prosecutors for the police trials.
‘Though they may have been ordered by Mosby to do what they did, that is no defense. Every prosecutor has an individual obligation,’ the law professor said. ‘They aren’t some minions way down below on the chain that really have no choice. These are the two major people in charge of making the decisions. I think they are as guilty of ethical violations as she.’”