Freddie Gray ‘conflicts of interest’: Baltimore police union calls for prosecutor to step aside

Residents, surrounded by marchers, celebrate from atop their vehicle in west Baltimore, Maryland May 1, 2015. (Reuters/Adrees Latif)

Residents, surrounded by marchers, celebrate from atop their vehicle in west Baltimore, Maryland May 1, 2015. (Reuters/Adrees Latif)

The Baltimore police union asked State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby to appoint a special prosecutor to take over the case against the six officers involved in the arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray. Mosby refused.

On Friday morning, shortly before Mosby was scheduled to hold a
press conference, the president of Baltimore’s lodge of the
Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the union that represents the
six officers, issued an open letter to the state’s attorney,
asking her to appoint a “special independent prosecutor”
for the case.

“In order to avoid any appearance of impropriety or a
violation of the Professional Rules of Professional
Responsibility, I ask that you appoint a Special Prosecutor to
determine whether or not any charges should be filed,”
President Gene Ryan wrote.

READ MORE: Freddie Gray’s death ruled ‘homicide’,
charges against all 6 officers involved

The open letter was shared on social media at 10:30am ET, half an
hour to an hour after Mosby filed charges against the six
officers. Speaking to reporters from the steps of the War
Memorial Building after, she refused to hand off her duties to an
independent outsider.

“I can tell you that the people of Baltimore City elected me,
and there’s no accountability with a special prosecutor,”

Mosby said. “I can tell you that, from day one, we
independently investigated ‒ we’re not just relying solely on
what we were given from the police department. Period.”

Ryan called into question Mosby’s ability to maintain
impartiality in the face potential conflicts of interest.

“I have full faith in your professional integrity,” Ryan
wrote. “While I have the utmost respect for you and your
office, I have very deep concerns about the many conflicts of
interest presented by your office conducting an investigation in
this case.”

“These conflicts include your personal and professional
relationship with Gray family attorney, William Murphy and the
lead prosecutor’s connections with members of the local media …
[who] are likely to be witnesses in any potential litigation
regarding this incident,”
Ryan continued. “Most
importantly, it is clear that your husband’s political future
will be directly impacted, for better or worse, by the outcome of
your investigation.”

Mosby’s husband is a member of the Baltimore City Council. She
flatly denied any conflict of interest between her job and that
of her husband’s.

“I don’t see an appearance of conflict of interest. My
husband is a public servant. He works on the legislative; I am a
prosecutor, I am also a public servant,”
Mosby told
reporters. “I uphold the law; he makes the laws. And I will
prosecute any case within my jurisdiction.”


Baltimore residents knew of her husband’s political position when
she was elected in November, Mosby’s office noted.

“State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been elected by the
residents in Baltimore City to uphold the law in every
neighborhood including her own, regardless of if her husband is
the councilman within the district where numerous crimes
said spokeswoman Rochelle Ritchie. “Hundreds of
people donated to her campaign. There is no conflict of interest
surrounding Billy Murphy. He is representing the family in a
civil case which has nothing to do with the criminal case.”

After Mosby announced
that she was bringing charges against all six officers ‒
including second-degree depraved heart murder, involuntary
manslaughter, assault, manslaughter by vehicle, false
imprisonment, misconduct in office, and failure to render aid ‒
the FOP condemned the decision.

“Let me begin by stating how appalled and frustrated we are
this morning at the events and information announced by the
state’s attorney,”
Ryan told reporters Friday afternoon.
“We are disappointed in the apparent rush to judgment given
the fact the investigation into this matter has not been

Michael Davey, the attorney for Lieutenant Brian Rice, spoke on
behalf of all of the defendants in the Gray case. He lambasted
Mosby for allowing publicity to force her into pressing charges.

“In my 20 years career as a law enforcement officer and 16
years as an attorney, I have never seen such a hurried rush to
file criminal charges, which I believe are driven by forces which
are separate and apart from the application of law and the facts
of this case as we know them,”
Davey said.

“I just find it very difficult [to believe] that it’s not a
rush to judgment when conducting a case in which someone has been
charged with second-degree murder, they can wrap it up in two
he added.

By Friday afternoon, all six police officers had turned
themselves in. Bail was set between $250,000 and $350,000 each,
according to court documents.

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