For Immediate Release 3/17/2017
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is one of 50 representatives of district and state’s attorneys’ offices from around the country adopting recommendations set forth by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys’ “Use of Force Project.”
The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA), a national organization of elected and appointed prosecutors, established the Use of Force Project last year in an effort to address the rising national concern pertaining to police-involved shootings, as well as in custody deaths and serious injuries. State’s Attorney Mosby traveled to San Francisco, CA in January 2017 to the APA’s Major County Prosecutors’ Council to help finalize the 27-page project.
The Use of Force Project developed a set of 21st Century Prosecution Standards, which proposes numerous recommendations, including the concept that a prosecutor communicate directly with the public when declining to charge an officer after a police-involved used of force investigation. The project recommends that the prosecutor provide their decision in a detailed letter, on the office website or other easily accessible means.
“At the start of my administration, I promised to make the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City a more open, accessible, and transparent public safety agency,” said State’s Attorney Mosby. “Over the past two years, we have worked toward that goal, seeking out national best practices with the citizens and communities of Baltimore City at the forefront of our minds. Today, we are delivering on that promise in a major way by posting information about individual ‘use of force’ investigations online.”
Under State’s Attorney Mosby’s new policy, the Office will post “use of force” investigation case summaries to its website any time a Baltimore police officer is suspected of criminally assaulting or fatally wounding a person in Baltimore City. The case summaries will explain the Office’s and/or an independent investigator’s decision not to press charges against the accused officer(s), as well as provide supporting evidence and documentation for the declination to charge.
In cases where the Office or an independent investigator chooses to bring charges, the legal process would move forward as it would in any other criminal case. Prosecutors are ethically barred from commenting publicly on active criminal cases.
“To improve the criminal justice system, we have to make holistic changes,” said Deputy State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe, who oversees the SAO’s Police Integrity and Police Trust Unit. “We must recognize and respond to the public’s right to know what happened when a resident is harmed or killed by law enforcement.”
State’s Attorney Mosby says the facts of each case will come to light either through trial or the investigation summaries posted on the website: http://www.stattorney.org/#pois.
“This is what the public needs in order to rebuild its faith in the criminal justice system,” continued State’s Attorney Mosby. “I’m glad to have the support and partnership of some of the most progressive prosecutorial minds in the country on this initiative.”
For more information on the Association of Prosecuting Attorney’s “Peace Officer Use of Force Project” and recommendations, please visit http://www.apainc.org/peace-officer-use-of-force/.