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FOP calls on prosecutor to recuse herself, defends officers

FOP calls on state's attorney to appoint a special prosecutor for Freddie Gray case.

A Fraternal Order of Police lodge is asking Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby to appoint a special prosecutor to the Freddie Gray investigation because of her personal connection to the Gray family's attorney, William H. "Billy" Murphy Jr., and her marriage to a city councilman.

The letter from Gene Ryan, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, also states that none of the six officers involved in Gray's arrest and death were responsible for the 25-year-old West Baltimore man's death that spurred protests and unrest, including rioting and looting on Monday. The letter was released just minutes before Mosby announced charges against the officers.

"Not one of the officers involved in this tragic situation left home in the morning with the anticipation that someone with whom they interacted would not go home that night," the letter states. "As tragic as this situation is, none of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Mr. Gray."

Ryan requests that Mosby appoint a "Special Independent Prosecutor."

"I have very deep concerns about the many conflicts of interest presented by your office conducting an investigation in this case," the letter states.

"These conflicts include your personal and professional relations with Gray family attorney, William Murphy, and the lead prosecutor's connections with members of the local media," the letter states. "Based on several nationally televised interviews, these reporters are likely to be witnesses in any potential litigation regarding this incident."

Murphy supported Mosby during her campaign last year. He donated $5,000 to her campaign and served on her transition committee.

In a statement to The Baltimore Sun, Mosby said the Gray case doesn't pose any conflicts for her and the police union donated to other candidates in election to be the state's attorney.

"State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been elected by the residents in Baltimore City to uphold the law in every neighborhood including her own, regardless of if her husband is the councilman within the district where numerous crimes occur," said spokeswoman Rochelle Ritchie. "Hundreds of people donated to her campaign. There is no conflict of interest surrounding Billy Murphy. He is representing the family in a civil case which has nothing to do with the criminal case."

The FOP letter also expresses problems with Mosby's marriage to Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby.

"Most importantly, it is clear that your husband's political future will be directly impacted, for better or worse, by the outcome of your investigation," the letter states. "In order to avoid any appearance of impropriety or a violation of the Professional Rules of Professional Responsibility, I ask that you appoint a Special Prosecutor to determine whether or not any charges should be filed."

The letter continued:

"We recognize that there are many dimensions to this situation: the public sentiments — on all sides; the investigation being conducted by your office; the internal police investigation; and a necessary review of the tools, equipment, and resources afforded to Baltimore police officers in order to carry out their sworn duty as police officers."

The letter also states that the officers involved in the case are "sincerely saddened by Mr. Gray's passing."

"They are all committed police officers who have dedicated their careers to the Baltimore City Police Department," he writes. "And that has been lost in all of the publicity. All death is tragic. And death associated with interaction with police is both shocking and frightening to the public.

"Each of the officers diligently balanced their obligations to protect Mr. Gray and discharge their duties to protect the public," the letter states. "I have full faith in your professional integrity. While I have the utmost respect for you and your office, I have very deep concerns about the many conflicts of interest presented by your office conducting an investigation in this case."

Doug.donovan@baltsun.com

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