Baltimore State’s Attorney Ivan Bates released a streamlined list Monday of city police officers who his prosecutors will not allow to testify because of credibility concerns and made public the criteria his office will employ when deciding whether to place an officer on the so-called “Do Not Call” list.
The move by Bates, a Democrat, comes after he removed the list from his office’s website in the spring, months after assuming the post — a decision he justified at a news conference Monday by saying it allowed his administration time to “review the names listed, the conduct alleged and the criteria used to populate that list.”
In sum, the inventory Bates published online includes about 30 fewer officers than the last version maintained by his predecessor, Marilyn Mosby, according to an analysis of the list his office published Monday and an archived version of the last version of Mosby’s list.
“Under my administration, the Office of State’s Attorney will maintain a do not call list and we will be as transparent as possible and fair as possible in our decisions to decline the testimony of certain officers,” said Bates, noting the damaging conduct of members of the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force unit of the Baltimore Police.
“Today’s announcement,” he said, “should serve as a reminder for all of Baltimore that while I’m state’s attorney, we’re never going to sit by and allow the officers like those implicated in the GTTF investigation to plague our communities unchecked.”
Bates’ list names 15 officers not included in the last list under Mosby, also a Democrat, and drops about 45 names that were on Mosby’s list. Unlike his predecessor’s version, Bates’ list does not provide a brief synopsis of what landed an officer on the list. He said his office would release such information in response to a request under the Maryland Public Information Act.
The officers not carried over from Mosby’s list were convicted or accused of crimes, had sustained internal affairs findings against them or, in two cases, had their credibility called into question during the trials of members of the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force, according to captions contained in the archived version of Mosby’s last list.
Bates did carry over the officers convicted in connection to the rogue police task force, and most of those whose credibility was tarnished during the court proceedings.
In response to questions about previous editions of the list, Bates seemed to criticize Mosby for her office’s handling of information about officers’ credibility.
His administration’s review “wasn’t just grabbing names and putting them on the list,” he said. “There’s a reason behind every name based on our policies and our process.”
In October 2021, Mosby for the first time published her “do not call” list, composed largely of former cops and officers known for their wrongdoing.
Last year, Mosby went further by releasing a roster of more than 300 Baltimore police officers who she said her office deemed to have credibility issues. A Maryland appellate court mandated Mosby’s office make the list public after a prolonged court battle with Baltimore Action Legal Team, a community nonprofit known as BALT.
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There are several ways an officer could end up on the list, according to the criteria Bates’ announced Monday.
Simply having a “sustained” finding after an internal investigation by the Baltimore Police Department or being charged with and convicted of a crime isn’t enough to land an officer on Bates’ list. The behavior, he said, must “call into question an officer’s credibility to testify truthfully.”
An officer placed on the “do not call” list may be removed if “after consideration of the facts and circumstances that gave rise to placing the officer on the [Do Not Call] List, it is determined that the officer is sufficiently reliable” — like an officer charged with a crime but later acquitted.
Bates also reserved the discretion to place an officer on the list if, say, his prosecutors recognize a pattern of unconstitutional arrests by the same person. He said that provision in the policy mirrors the protocol under the administration of State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy, a Democrat who served as state’s attorney from 2004 to 2010.
Prosecutors are required to disclose to defense attorneys information that may point to a defendant’s innocence or that calls into question a witness’ propensity for telling the truth.
In his announcement, Bates touted his office’s collaboration with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, which has persistently criticized prosecutors in Baltimore for failing to disclose information about officer misconduct so that defense attorneys can use it at trial.
A spokeswoman for the public defender’s office did not respond to a request for comment.