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Councilman Mosby: City should release all information on Gray arrest

Councilman Nick Mosby called on Baltimore City officials Monday to immediately release any and all information on the events that led to the death of Freddie Gray to the public.

Mosby, whose district includes the area where Gray was arrested, said "As time lapses, it only breeds skepticism and distrust."

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"An immediate response to provide the accurate information is critically important," he said. " ... A man lost his life in the custody of folks who are sworn to protect, and who we should be able to trust.

"No one is saying to do anything to rush to judgment; however, you have to communicate things that the community feels is part of the process. For the folks in West Baltimore, they don't feel they are part of the process."

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Mosby said the tone of the community is changing, as distrust has been building since incidents involing police-related deaths in Ferguson, Mo., New York City and, most recently, North Charleston, S.C.

"It's different than anything I have seen while I've been on the council," Mosby said. "It's not just because it's my district. When you tie in some of the national events, people are really fed up, and justice isn't always provided fairly and equally."

Mosby said he has no information that hasn't already been released to the public. He said the time it's taken for the police to release information stands to "whittle away" the work activists have been doing with "Enough is Enough" peace rallies and other actions.

"If you don't know, say you don't know," he said. "If you know, say what you know. Not providing a [complete] time frame is unacceptable."

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Mosby also noted the city should be able to access video of the incident, because the place where Gray was arrested near Gilmor Homes in Sandtown-Winchester is covered by several cameras.

He said he couldn't say whether the police would have been equipped with body cameras in time to ensure footage of this incident had the mayor signed the bill requiring the cameras that council passed in November. Rawlings-Blake said she will launch a pilot program this year, arguing that rushing to equip officers with cameras would be a mistake.

But, Mosby said, "This case again highlights the critical need to get body cameras as soon as possible."

"At the end of the day one life is too many," he continued. But "with this current relationship of distrust in community, there is no reason why we shouldn't get a full all-out deployment [of cameras] like the council voted on as soon as possible. We do not want to get to the level of Ferguson."

Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young said he stands ready to help the mayor get a body camera program in place.

"The mayor is committed to doing the body cameras, just like I am committed to getting it done," he said.

Young expressed frustration at the violence in Baltimore saying, "We have got to do something." He said both citizens and police need to take action to "to root out the criminal element no matter where it is, in the Police Department or in our community."

But before the police can get past the "no snitching" culture in Baltimore, Young said witnesses need to trust that the police will protect them and their families.

"They are afraid," Young said. "If the guy comes up to me and says, 'Hey, I know you saw that. If you tell on me, I am going to kill your grandmother and I am going to kill everybody in your family.' That's a tough decision for that person to make."

Young, whose 29-year-old nephew was shot and killed this month, said people in Baltimore are angry, and he worries about the unrest other communities in recent months.

"I am hoping we don't have that here in Baltimore," Young said. "There is only so much a community can take."

ywenger@baltsun.com

twitter.com/yvonnewenger

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