Cop out: Leaks embarrassing to Baltimore police, lapdog media
Those selective leaks making their way to the news media on the Baltimore police investigation into the April death of Freddie Gray that led to charges for six officers involved in his arrest and detention sure are convenient.
To the defense of the six officers charged. Of course.
And of course we’ve seen this before, not just generally speaking, but specifically in regard to the investigation of the death of Gray.
Remember the bombshell that the Washington Post broke a couple of days before the charges were made public regarding how a fellow prisoner in the van with Gray had apparently told police that he thought Gray had been trying to injure himself?
Except that he hadn’t said anything to police of the sort.
But that planted seeds of doubt in the walk-up to the state’s attorney for Baltimore deciding to charge the officers involved, which of course was the intent behind the leaks.
As it has been the intent of attorneys for the officers facing charges in the case to plant seeds of doubt with respect to the supposed conflict of interest for the state’s attorney for Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby, that they are saying should prevent her from trying the case. Because the attorney for Gray’s family was a donor to her political campaign for the prosecutor position.
The police union helping fan the flames of doubt regarding the case against the officers was also a campaign donor, but please disperse, nothing to see there.
And now we’re being told through leaks that a key finding of Mosby’s office in its investigation, that the arrest of Gray that precipitated the circumstances leading to his death was illegal, is itself at question. The arrest was on a charge that Gray had been carrying an illegal knife, but the Mosby team has determined that the knife in question was legal to carry under city and state law. The lack of basis for a lawful arrest added to the level of charges against the officers, so this is an important point.
Convenient that the police investigation of its own would find that its officers were not at fault. We’ve not heard that story before.
It’s also convenient that police sources are telling the media via anonymous leaks that they were told that the medical examiner’s office had briefed police investigators to the effect that Gray’s death was going to be ruled as being short of homicide, which turned out not to be the case. But why quibble on details, except when the details, again, can sow seeds of doubt as to the case against the officers?
One last disgusting tidbit from the most recent leaks has police sources, again, anonymous, throwing the lead investigator in the state’s attorney office under the bus, detailing how he was stripped of a command post in the Baltimore PD in 2009 for failing to follow through on a burglary investigation that two of his officers had mishandled, then being involved in an incident at his home later that year in which he was reportedly drunk and holding a gun.
So what we have here is efforts by police, anonymously leaking information to the news media, ostensibly while on the public payroll, aiming to discredit an active case being prosecuted by the state’s attorney, on behalf of fellow officers charged in an egregious crime that has broken the public’s trust in the department and the way officers do their job.
Shame on the police department for allowing this to go on. Shame on the police chief; shame on the mayor, who has the power to shut that activity down with the stroke of a pen, since the police work for her.
Shame on the willing co-conspirators in the news media, too, for playing the lapdog role for police trying to undermine justice.
– Column by Chris Graham