The death threats come daily to the office of Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby as the trials of police officers in the death of Freddie Gray continue to go on.
There’s a sameness to the threats, which accuse Mosby of racism, of being crazy, and argue that she should be “hung” for daring to prosecute six police officers over the death of Gray, who was in their custody when he died.
“YOU are a racist criminal! YOU are a worthless racist [expletive],” read one of the threatening emails.
“You are out of your mind. When the violence starts and they turn their anger on you, maybe the officers will be a little slow to react. You are a cop hater. Marilyn Mosby is nothing but a [expletive] Black Panther [expletive]. She should be hung,” read another.
There have been many more threats to Mosby since the indictment of the six police officers in the death of Gray, including people coming to her house and concocting fake news stories in which her husband is murdered and police officers do nothing.
"The threats have been turned over to the Baltimore Police Department and I have heard the FBI is investigating," Rochelle Ritchie, Mosby’s spokeswoman, tells The Root. "I guess some people wonder if she will be deterred from seeking justice in Baltimore City because of this. My answer to that is no. She will continue to seek justice for all victims."
The criticism of her indictment of the officers has increased as the number of not guilty verdicts continues to grow in the trials of these officers. Critics have said that she didn’t have enough evidence to charge officers, that she rushed to judgment in order to quell unrest or that she indicted the officers for her own political ambition.
In every trial so far, the defense team has attempted to get motions granted to dismiss charges, and Judge Barry Williams has denied them. The chief medical examiner ruled that Gray's death was a homicide, but criticism around whether these trials should continue centers around Mosby.
"What you're not hearing from is the silent majority," lawyer J. Wyndal Gordon, who has been following the case, tells The Root. "That majority still backs Mosby in this town. You're hearing from that noisy, small group of people who know how to sound an alarm and have you think the sky is falling. But it isn't. Mosby is doing great things during her administration."
Gordon asserts that at issue is that the Fraternal Order of Police is losing its stronghold on the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office, an issue that in some ways has played out in court with bickering between the prosecution and the lead investigator for the police.
"It almost sounds absurd, trusting police to prosecute police, but that's the system we work under," says Gordon, who says the prosecution is working with hostile witnesses, unprecedented attacks on the chief medical examiner, and the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights, which allows officers 10 days before giving a statement after a death in police custody.
The narrative that doesn't get played out as much is that Mosby has boldly gone where no prosecutor has gone before.
Mosby launched an independent investigation alongside the police investigation that normally takes place. The trials brought on by her indictment have helped expose the deficiencies and dysfunction of the Baltimore City Police Department with regard to following policies, and have allowed for the purchase of safer police vans with cameras inside. Now, anytime a prisoner requests a medic, a police officer is required to take him or her to the hospital. The Police Department will also be ordering body cameras. And, according to Debbie Hines, who used to work in the prosecutor’s office, there will be a new system in place with regard to police emails, whereby confirmation will be required to show that they have checked emails.
According to Baltimore Sun reports, through the first half of 2016, 215 citizen complaints have been lodged against the police—a 37 percent decline from last year's data. Excessive-force complaints have dropped by 39 percent.
Mosby's office has secured 129 murder convictions last year alone, and she’s been one of the few prosecutors in the country to bring charges against law-enforcement officers who have had suspects die in their custody, according to the Sun. For a first-term prosecutor, she has one of the best conviction rates of any prosecutor in the country.
As the trial began for Police Lt. Brian Rice this past week, the likelihood of another not guilty verdict looms in the background.
"The problem is the state has such a high burden of proof," says attorney Roya Hanna, who has been following the case. "Their job is not to say he went into the van and left injured. The state has to show what happened. And they have to show how officers broke the law. I don't think the state has enough facts. But maybe there will be more for the next few trials."
"I think [Mosby] has laid down some pretty good framework, whether she wins, loses, or the trial is a hung jury," says Gordon. "She sent a clarion message to all those officers who routinely abuse citizens and disrespect citizens that they have to think twice about engaging in unwarranted physical violence."