Marilyn Mosby to students: No convictions in Freddie Gray case, but justice still prevailed

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby was the guest speaker for an event commemorating Constitution Day at Baltimore City Community College.
Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby was the guest speaker for an event commemorating Constitution Day at Baltimore City Community College. (Alison Knezevich/The Baltimore Sun)

Two months after Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby dropped charges against the remaining police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, she told a group of students Monday that "justice has still prevailed."

While none of the six officers she charged was convicted, the city's top prosecutor told a crowd at Baltimore City Community College the case has helped to fuel reforms — such as the launch of the Police Department's body camera program and the use of cameras inside all police vans.


"What is now guaranteed is that what happened to him will never take place in the city of Baltimore again as a result of those charges," she said.

Mosby spoke at a Constitution Day event at the college's main campus on Liberty Heights Avenue.

She told students she never imagined that "doing my job would place me in the dead-center of a national conflict between urban populations of color and the law enforcement agencies that are sworn to protect and serve them."

Gray, 25, died in April 2015 after suffering severe spinal cord injuries in police custody. Mosby drew international attention when she announced criminal charges against six officers involved in his arrest and transport in a police van.

The charges ranged from misconduct in office to second-degree murder.

All the officers pleaded not guilty. Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams acquitted Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson Jr. and Lt. Brian Rice, and prosecutors dropped their cases against Officer Garrett Miller, Officer William Porter and Sgt. Alicia White.

"As a woman of color with black brothers, nephews, cousins and a black husband, I never had to go through a cultural sensitivity training to know how Freddie Gray and young boys like him were being treated by the police in cities across this nation," Mosby said.

In August, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report accusing the Police Department of routinely violating the civil and constitutional rights of the city's residents.

Mosby told the students it is easy to feel outrage.

"But my question to you today is: What are you doing about it?"

Mosby spoke of the underrepresentation of women and minorities in her profession.

"Had I not had the seat at the table to make the unprecedented decisions that I was forced to make, had there been no accountability, there'd be no exposure, there'd be no reform," she said.

Women of color make up 1 percent of elected prosecutors nationwide, the Women's Donor Network reported last year. White men make up 79 percent.

"The criminal justice system has a disproportionate effect on communities of color," she said. "What do you expect when 79 percent of those prosecutors in this country are white men?"


Mosby said some people have misinterpreted her passion for her work.

"People want to misconstrue that as anger," she said. "And it's not anger; it's just passion about this job."

She also touched on the presidential election.

There is "an ever-increasing, blatant and scary racial divide in this country, overtly perpetuated by a narcissist misogynist running for president," she said, and added: "We cannot allow our silence to become a catalyst for the Donald Trumps of this world."

Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the Constitution in 1787. Pocket-size booklets containing the document were placed on each student's chair before the event.

"The Constitution is about their lives," said history professor Rebecca Johns-Hackett, one of the organizers of the event.