Mosby hits back at criticism from former commissioner Batts

Mosby hits back at former top cop's criticisms: "There's a reason he's no longer the commissioner"

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby hit back at criticism from former police commissioner Anthony Batts as she continued a media blitz following the decision to drop charges in the Freddie Gray case.

Mosby said on WBAL's C4 Show that Batts was publicly spreading misinformation while the case was being investigated and that she warned him that he was exacerbating distrust.

"People are going to get angry about that and start burning things down," she recalled telling him.

She also reiterated claims that police weren't cooperating with the investigation or making questionable decisions in how they handled the case.

Batts, who was fired last July amid a soaring homicide rate, on Wednesday said Mosby was "incompetent, immature and vindictive." He said she was "in over her head" and has added more flaws to a broken justice system by prosecuting innocent officers "to prove a point."

Asked by host Clarence Mitchell IV about those comments, Mosby responded: "I think there's a reason why he's no longer the commissioner" and suggested he had displayed a "lack of leadership."

She then said she was going to take the high road regarding his criticism, paraphrasing Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention this week.

"When they go low, I'll go high," she said.

Mosby also repeated her defense of the charges filed against the officers involved in Gray's arrest and death. The prosecutions concluded with no convictions on any counts.

"There's been this misconception … that we overcharged or didn't charge appropriately," Mosby said. "That's ridiculous."

She noted that Judge Barry Williams, who acquitted three of the officers after trials, had not thrown out the charges before or during the trials, and highlighted a victory for the state in the Court of Appeals regarding their effort to force officers with pending charges to testify against their co-defendants.

Mosby reiterated that she believes police are too inherently biased to investigate themselves. She has spoken of creating new independent investigatory resources to help prosecutors on such cases.

"The police are like a brotherhood. If I'm prosecuting my brother, I would be recused," she said.

Chief Deputy Michael Schatzow, one of the trial prosecutors, defended the state's theory of a rough ride. He said the vehicle didn't need to be traveling at excessive speed to cause serious injuries — and for officers to be aware that Gray could get hurt.

"You take a poll among the citizens of this city, you'll find a number of them who have been subjected to a rough ride," Schatzow said.

Mosby interjected: "What you're not going to get is a police officer or police expert to get up there on the stand and tell you what a rough ride is."

Mitchell asked Mosby how she is going to rein in violent crime. Last year, the rate of homicides reached a record high. While homicides are down this year compared to the same time last year, total shootings are up.

"Despite the lower [homicide] clearance rate, we're working with the Police Department," she said. "We cannot do our jobs without the Police Department. … We need to work with the community to get the clearance rate back up."

jfenton@baltsun.com

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