The office of Baltimore’s top prosecutor Marilyn Mosby released a voicemail this week sent to Mosby after she visited St. Louis to stand in solidarity with another progressive black woman prosecutor, Kim Gardner. The St. Louis prosecutor is filing a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging city leaders and the police union have conspired to drive her out of office on account of her race.
The call to Mosby, attributed to a St. Louis woman, affirms that race is a major factor in the vitriol directed at the Maryland state’s attorney.
“There’s only one thing worse than a fat ass, empowered black woman,” the caller said (h/t Baltimore’s local Fox station). “That’s a fat ass, empowered black woman who’s got the public reins in her hands.”
“How dare you come to St. Louis!” she said. “You hate cops! You hate white people!”
The personal attack (Mosby’s office is not identifying the caller) comes as Mosby is battling more powerful foes in her own state. As the Baltimore Sun reports, the progressive prosecutor has been at odds with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Baltimore’s police union for weeks over her approach to the job. In the last year, Mosby has vowed to stop prosecuting people for marijuana possession and moved to throw out nearly 800 convictions in cases involving tainted Baltimore city cops.
Gov. Hogan complained that Mosby’s office “acts too quickly to drop criminal cases,” writes the Sun. Last Wednesday, Hogan’s proposed budget earmarked $2.6 million for the state’s attorney general to prosecute more crimes in Baltimore, which saw a spike in the number of homicides last year.
Mosby says the governor’s decision is an “outrageous and undemocratic power grab” that puts her prosecutorial discretion in the hands of the attorney general.
She has also had to deal with an ongoing rift between her office and the police union, which has fervently criticized her since 2015 when she charged six officers in the death of Freddie Gray. The police union criticized her recent appearance in St. Louis, referring to her as an “activist prosecutor” and “social justice prosecutor,” but denying Mosby’s race and gender has anything to do with their distaste for her.
Mosby isn’t buying it. As she spoke to the St. Louis crowd this week, Mosby referenced the collective struggle black women prosecutors, like Gardner and Chicago’s Kim Foxx, have faced around the country as they seek to reform the criminal justice system.
“The vitriol, the personal and the professional attacks, particularly against black, female prosecutors is unprecedented,” she said. “The individuals making decisions about who’s going to be charged, what they’re going to be charged with, what sentence recommendations they’re going to make—90 percent of those prosecutors in this country are white; 79 percent are white men.
“As women of color, we represent one percent of all elected prosecutors in this country. Our very existence challenges the status quo.”