I agree with most of what retired BPD major Robert DiStefano said in his letter about State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. I disagree, however, with everything he said about Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. [“Mosby’s rush to judgment,” May 31, 2016.]
Mosby’s rush to judgment against the six officers charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray resulted in the prosecution of at least one officer, Edward Nero, who never should have been charged, and in charges against other officers that are too serious and that she has no reasonable chance of proving at trial. The fact that one or more of the remaining officers may be convicted of lesser offenses does nothing to remedy the injustice to Nero.
There is nothing to be gained, however, by Davis joining the chorus of people publicly condemning Mosby. The last thing that the city needs is a recurrence of the open warfare between the police department and the State’s Attorney’s Office that existed during the tenure of former State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy. As soon as either Davis or Mosby fires the first salvo by publicly criticizing the other the war will resume. Citizens will suffer the collateral damage because an inevitable casualty of such conflict is the vital working relationship between the two elements of the criminal justice system. The relationship already is strained and has been so for years. Davis and Mosby have to work together to repair it, not push it to the breaking point.
In the worldview of DiStefano and the FOP you are either with the officers of the BPD or you are against them, and they call upon a commissioner to prove that he or she is with them on a regular basis. The threat implicit in the letter is that because Davis failed such a test by choosing not to “speak out in defense of his troops and against the obvious an unnecessary rush to judgment” his “troops” could turn on him in a heartbeat, as they did with his predecessor. Davis deserves credit for having the courage to stay focused on the goal presumably shared by the FOP, which is the successful prosecution of the violent criminals who are destroying the soul of the city.
[Published as a Letter to the Editor by The Sun on June 2, 2016. I did not post the letter until July 25, 2016; the date of posting listed above was altered to place the letter in chronological order.]