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Officers' trials show city is committed to justice, not revenge

In reading recent articles and reader letters on Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, one gets the impression she's either a people's champion, a political opportunist, or something in between ("Win or lose in court, Marilyn Mosby remains a controversial figure as supporters and opponents dig in," July 3).

While there's no question that her quick action to indict the police officers involved in the Freddie Gray's death had a tangible effect on calming the city, the subsequent failures to achieve convictions have raised serious concerns about her motives and her competency.

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None of us know the real answer, but since opinions on both sides (champion or political opportunist) are rampant, another perspective is worthwhile.

There are strong arguments regarding her premature rush to indict the officers. A more cynical perspective, that she acted as a political opportunist, is supported by the fact that she was willing to ruin the lives of six long-term Baltimore police officers in exchange for personal fame. It is now clear, thanks to the objective, stringent legal standards of evidence and proof demanded by Judge Barry Williams, that the prosecutors' investigation was premature, rushed, and poorly done.

An objective observation, based solely on the facts that have come to light and the lack of results achieved to date, drives one to conclude that she acted rashly, bypassing comprehensive investigative procedures and legal due process.

Regardless of her possible altruistic intentions, subsequent events have shown her to be either driven by, at best, personal political opportunism or, at worst, incompetence. We can be proud as a city that we were able to have the clear, objective, impartial and fair legal oversight of Judge Williams to prevent what would have been a travesty in justice.

Even with Judge Williams' strong involvement, the mental pain and suffering inflicted on these defendants has been debilitating. In the end, Baltimore can be proud that "the system worked," and that the ill-informed, inflammatory rhetoric did not supersede due process and the rules of evidence, proof, and the law.

The eyes of the country have been watching Baltimore, and we did the right thing. Gray's tragic death has resulted in needed improvements in police training, procedures and equipment, so no one can claim that his death was in vain.

Progress has resulted. But revenge at the cost of bypassing or coercing our legal system is not progress, and we have done well to protect that foundation of our constitutional rights by showing that no single entity, regardless of position or rhetoric, can undermine or unduly influence that sacred process.

Jerry Cothran, Baltimore

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