Every day this week, I have been attempting to write this blog. Each day, there was new anger, new sadness, and new targets. The police, the rioters, the mayor, the media. CNN. Fox News. Geraldo. Each day, there were new twists and turns. The notes for my blog appeared to be pages of a rant-filled diary full of sadness and sorrow rather than a piece that was fitting for this publication. By Wednesday, I decided to take a step back and just allow my brain to process Freddie Gray’s death and the events occurring in Baltimore. I promised myself I would not write another thing until the day of my deadline, Friday, May 1, 2015. This would allow me time to go back and reflect on the case. In addition, I prayed that there would be more information about the Freddie Gray investigation. Well…my prayers have been answered and my patience has been rewarded.
Today, Baltimore—no this country—made a great step in its quest to fill the gap for justice. I heard a friend say that justice was just not for us. Throughout the past couple of years, it seemed like we have had a national justice case regarding a person’s civil rights each year. Now, it seems like it is every month and almost every week. Many of the cases involved police brutality and questionable police practices. The people that swore to protect us seemed to be hurting us…killing us. In all of these cases, the police officers were never charged, or ultimately, they were acquitted. We saw no justice…once again, justice was just for them.
Today, however, the tide has turned. There is a change in Baltimore. Newly-elected Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby was presented with a nationally-publicized case just a few months after she was sworn into office. She defeated incumbent State Attorney Gregg Bernstein in June 2014 and easily won the general elections in November. Mosby ran her campaign on the platform of violent crime, and she promised to hold the police accountable. Baltimore City residents expected her to deal with the rampant police corruption and prosecute officers for incidents of police brutality, such as the rough riding that Freddie Gray experienced. Mosby followed through on her campaign promises. Based on the evidence in the Freddie Gray case, Mosby ruled his death a homicide. There was no need for a grand jury…no reason to hem and haw. It was time to effectively move forward a police brutality case.
Furthermore, Mosby found that there was no probable cause to arrest Freddie Gray. There was no reason for Freddie Gray to die. Just another senseless death. Another life lost to excessive police force. It is my hope, however, that Freddie Gray’s death will not be in vain. The announcement of charges against the six officers is the only the first step. The next step is the conviction of the corrupt police officers. The final and most important step is true policy reform not only in Baltimore but nationwide.
We have taken a big step today for the justice of all people. This blog is not about #BlackLivesMatter or #BrownLivesMatter. Let it be known that #AllLivesMatter. I believe today’s step was possible because there was new blood within Maryland’s legal system. It is no longer the Good Ol’ Boys Club. A young, Black woman has become the catalyst for change in the civil rights movement. Mosby did something that other state attorneys, district attorneys, and prosecutors could not or would not do. In her press conference today, she said:
To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America. I heard your call for “no justice, no peace.” Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man…To the rank-and-file officers of the Baltimore City Police Department, please know that these accusations of these six officers are not an indictment on the entire force. I come from five generations of law enforcement. My father was an officer. My mother was an officer. Several of my aunts and uncles. My recently departed and beloved grandfather was one of the founding members of the black police organization in Massachusetts. I can tell you that the actions of these officers will not and should not in any way damage important working relationships between police and prosecutors.
Now, as we move forward, let us continue to pray for Marilyn Mosby. She will have many forces that will try to come against her as she fights for justice. Freddie Gray’s justice will lead to justice for all. Mosby has proven that change can occur when we use our voices to vote. We have proven that we can work as one. We have proven that all races, religions, and political beliefs can share one voice for civil rights. We all have proven that when we are united, no one can tear us down. Baltimore City is proving that is the catalyst for civil rights change.
“….To the youth of this city: I will seek justice on your behalf. This is a moment, this is your moment. Let’s ensure that we have peaceful and productive rallies that will develop structural and systemic changes for generations to come. You’re at the forefront of this cause. And as young people, our time is now.”
—Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City State Attorney, May 1, 2015