Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby appeared on two national television networks Tuesday and said the actions of Derek Chauvin, convicted of murdering George Floyd, are representative of policing in America.
Mosby, who has clashed with police at times and received national attention six years ago after she charged six Baltimore Police officers following the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, made the comments on MSNBC’s 11th Hour with Brian Williams, and on CNN’s Tonight with Don Lemon.
While Mosby has been quick to call out the actions of rogue officers or bring sweeping indictments — such when she brought dozens of abuse charges against veteran Baltimore Sgt. Ethan Newberg in 2019 — Tuesday’s comments directly rebutted arguments that Chauvin did not represent police officers in general.
“What Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd is absolutely policing in America for Black people in this country,” Mosby said about 10 minutes into the broadcast. “The infliction of excessive force, the violation of de-escalation policies, the refusal to render aid, the complete and utter indifference to the lives of Black people is exactly what policing has been, and continues to be in America for Black people in this country.”
Chauvin, who was captured on cell phone video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, was convicted by jurors in Minnesota Tuesday on all three counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Floyd’s death last May sparked months of protests across the country and widespread calls for police reform. This year, the Maryland legislature passed a number of policing reforms in response to Floyd’s death.
Mosby brought charges against six Baltimore Police officers on May 1, 2015, after Gray, 25, died of severe neck injuries suffered in the back of a police transport van. He’d been shackled and handcuffed, but not secured in a seat belt. His death sparked days of protests that erupted into unrest. The charges against the officers ranged from second-degree depraved-heart murder to manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office against six police officers involved in his arrest.
All of the cases brought by Mosby resulted in acquittal or were dismissed, and all officers returned to the police force. The city’s police union has battled Mosby’s office in the ensuing years.
Mike Mancuso, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
On MSNBC, Mosby said the Chauvin verdict “marks a turning point.”
She said that “the stakes couldn’t have been higher, not just for that family who deserve some semblance of justice for the tragic murder of their loved one captured on film. But also the stakes couldn`t be higher for us as a country, right, as the world watched America`s justice system.”
Mosby’s comments are the latest in which she has decried police misconduct. She has also testified before state lawmakers, and has called for reforms, including on how officers are investigated.
On Wednesday night, Mosby took a different tone, praising the current leadership of the Baltimore Police Department, noting the high volume of commissioners during her term and saying she and the current administration are on the same page.
During a Southwestern District commanders’ meeting with residents over Zoom on Wednesday, Mosby interjected to praise Maj. Joel Heiss.
“Right now when policing is under attack, it’s important to appreciate those who give and sacrifice or our community. We love and appreciate you,” Mosby said.
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In her comments Tuesday night, Mosby went on to say that Floyd’s death represents a larger problem with policing, which she said has been more aggressive against Black Americans. And she disagreed with statements made by a prosecutor who helped win a conviction against Chauvin.
During the closing arguments, prosecutor Steven Schleicher told jurors, “To be clear, this case is called the state of Minnesota vs. Derek Chauvin. This is not called the state of Minnesota versus the police.”
Mosby countered that the verdict marks an important moment, “because there`s finally an acknowledgement of what it`s been like for Black people in this country, is finally a recognition that our lives matter, too.”
When asked about Mosby’s comments, Baltimore Police spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge pointed to statements that Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison made in response to the verdict in the Chauvin case.
“This is not how any officer should conduct themselves,” Harrison said in a statement, criticizing Chauvin’s action.
“As a law enforcement executive, the actions and conduct of Chauvin not only failed to represent the oath to protect and serve, but it was shocking to the consciousness to every human being that watched that video, and I believe that justice has been appropriately served,” Harrison said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.