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Mosby jumps in on Twitter as O'Malley is pressed on Baltimore policing

Baltimore's top prosector Marilyn J. Mosby appeared to come to the aid of former mayor Martin O'Malley during Tuesday's Democratic debate when he was pressed on the high-arrest policing style he backed in Baltimore.

CNN host Anderson Cooper used Mosby's words to question O'Malley about the roots of Baltimore's unrest this spring.

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"The current top prosecutor in Baltimore, also a Democrat, blames your zero tolerance policies for sowing the seeds of unrest," Cooper said. "Why should Americans trust you with the country when they see what's going on in the city that you ran for more than seven years?"

When O'Malley pushed back against the question, Cooper quoted Mosby, saying she had specifically blamed zero tolerance for some of the city's current problems.

As the exchange played out in the debate hall in Nevada and on millions of television screens, Mosby jumped in on Twitter and appeared to help O'Malley out.

"The systemic issues that plague our city are not attributable to one person," she posted to her personal account @marilynmosbyesq

Then, she added: "The problems in Baltimore are systemic... Let's talk about HOW to resolve the challenges....."

Mosby gained national attention and praise from civil rights activists when she quickly moved to file charges against six officers in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray in April. Her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the posts.

O'Malley, meanwhile, has faced criticism locally for the approach to policing he backed as mayor. He apologized in July after he told a group of Black Lives Matter protesters that "all lives matter" — a slogan the activists perceive as minimizing their cause.

But behind the scenes there are links between Mosby and O'Malley. They share a prominent Baltimore political fundraiser and Mosby's husband, Councilman Nick Mosby who is considering a mayoral run, recently wrote an op-ed praising O'Malley's data-driven governing tool CitiStat.

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In the debate, O'Malley first stood up for his crime-control record while mayor, but also made clear that he backed the ideas behind the Black Lives Matter movement.

"We restored peace in our poorer neighborhoods so that people could actually walk and not have to worry about their kids or their loved ones of being victims of violent crime," he told Cooper.

"Look, none of this is easy. None of us has all the answers. But together as a city, we saved a lot of lives. It was about leadership. It was about principle. And it was about bringing people together."

Then in response to a later question O'Malley said the death toll among African-American men in Baltimore would not be tolerated were the victim's white.

"If we were burying white, young, poor men in these number we would be marching in the streets and there would be a different reaction," he said. "Black lives matter, and we have a lot of work to do to reform our criminal justice system, and to address race relations in our country."

Here's the full transcript of the two exchanges.

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First, on zero tolerance policing:

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, the concern of voters about you is that you tout our record as Baltimore's mayor. As we all know, we all saw it. That city exploded in riots and violence in April.

The current top prosecutor in Baltimore, also a Democrat, blames your zero tolerance policies for sowing the seeds of unrest. Why should Americans trust you with the country when they see what's going on in the city that you ran for more than seven years?

O'MALLEY: Yes, actually, I believe what she said was that there's a lot of policies that have led to this unrest.

But, Anderson, when I ran for mayor of Baltimore in 1999...

COOPER: She actually -- just for the record, when she was asked which policies, to name two, she said zero tolerance. I mean, there's a number of old policies that we're seeing the results of. That distress of communities, where communities don't want to step forward and say who killed a 3-year-old, it's a direct result of these failed policies.

O'MALLEY: Well, let's talk about this a little bit. One of the things that was not reported during that heartbreaking night of unrest in Baltimore was that arrests had actually fallen to a 38-year low in the year prior to the Freddie Gray's tragic death.

Anderson, when I ran for mayor of Baltimore back in 1999, it was not because our city was doing well. It was because we allowed ourselves to become the most violent, addicted, and abandoned city in America.

And I ran and promised people that together we could turn that around. And we put our city on a path to reduce violent crime, or part one (ph) crime by more than any other major city in America over the next 10 years.

I did not make our city immune to setbacks. But I attended a lot of funerals, including one for a family of seven who were firebombed in their sleep for picking up the phone in a poor African-American neighborhood and calling the police because of drug dealers on their corner.

We've saved over a thousand lives in Baltimore in the last 15 years of people working together. And the vast majority of them were young and poor and black. It wasn't easy on any day. But we saved lives and we gave our city a better future, improving police and community relations every single day that I was in office.

COOPER: In one year alone, though, 100,000 arrests were made in your city, a city of 640,000 people. The ACLU, the NAACP sued you, sued the city, and the city actually settled, saying a lot of those arrests were without probable cause.

O'MALLEY: Well, I think the key word in your followup there was the word "settle." That's true. It was settled. Arrests peaked in 2003, Anderson, but they declined every year after that as we restored peace in our poorer neighborhoods so that people could actually walk and not have to worry about their kids or their loved ones of being victims of violent crime.

Look, none of this is easy. None of us has all the answers. But together as a city, we saved a lot of lives. It was about leadership. It was about principle. And it was about bringing people together.

COOPER: Thank you, Governor.

O'MALLEY: Thank you.

On Black Lives Matter:

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COOPER: Governor O'Malley, the question from Arthur was do black lives matter, or do all lives matter?

O'MALLEY: Anderson, the point that the Black Lives Matter movement is making is a very, very legitimate and serious point, and that is that as a nation we have undervalued the lives of black lives, people of color. When I ran for Mayor of Baltimore -- and we we burying over 350 young men ever single year, mostly young, and poor, and black, and I said to our legislature, at the time when I appeared in front of them as a mayor, that if we were burying white, young, poor men in these number we would be marching in the streets and there would be a different reaction. Black lives matter, and we have a lot of work to do to reform our criminal justice system, and to address race relations in our country.

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