Press Releases

For Immediate Release 10/20/16

Today, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby introduced a five-point plan to change the way in which police-involved lethal force incidents are investigated, prosecuted, and reviewed. Mosby shared her proposal in West Baltimore at Coppin State University.

She was joined by President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) David LaBahn, the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the APA and Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., as well as students and members of the Coppin State University administration, faculty, and community.

While most police officers uphold their oaths to protect and serve, Mosby acknowledged police misconduct as a harsh reality and detailed changes to the process by which cases of lethal force by police officers are investigated, in an effort to create a blueprint for local law enforcement in Baltimore, in jurisdictions across the state, and possibly across the country.

“When I ran for the Office of State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, I promised to focus intently on the prosecution of violent criminals, to operate the office in a manner that addressed crime holistically, and to hold everyone within my jurisdiction—no matter your race, religion, gender, socio-economic status, or occupation equally and fairly under the law,” said Mosby.

Currently, when a lethal force incident involving a police officer occurs in Baltimore, the police department responds initially with its Special Investigation Response Team (SIRT). Mosby proposed replacing this team with a more impartial and collaborative team that would consist of a BPD investigator, an investigator assigned to the State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO), a Civilian Review Board investigator, and a Maryland State Police investigator.

Additionally, Mosby would like for SAO investigators to have full police powers so they can play a more significant role in the prosecution of police misconduct. Investigators in Maryland’s Dorchester, Garrett, and Talbot Counties all have police powers that allow them to service warrants, make arrests, and carry firearms.

“I commend State’s Attorney Mosby in her efforts to change and improve the investigative process of police misconduct cases here in Baltimore City,” said David LaBahn, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA). “One of the most important requirements of our jobs as prosecutors is that the public trusts us and our work, and we are constantly working to earn that public trust and confidence. The policy reform proposals announced today, for this great city of Baltimore, address both resources needed to properly investigate and prosecute as well as provide for the necessary accountability."

Among her proposals, Mosby would like to craft a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would allow the local chief prosecutor to commission a federal review of the lethal force investigation if the prosecutor declines to charge an officer, and grant United States District Attorneys the power to prosecute cases of police misconduct under state statutes in state courts.

Mosby’s final proposals call for judges and prosecutors to play a role in the selection of a bench trial by defendants as is done at the federal level, as well as increasing civilian voting membership on the police Administrative Hearing Board, which is responsible for disciplinary action against Baltimore Police officers.

"State's Attorney Mosby is proposing some important and necessary changes to how she will be investigating and prosecuting police misconduct, and I applaud her and these new policy reforms,” said Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Directors for the APA. "The role of a prosecutor is to investigate and prosecute everyone accused of a crime, not matter who they are or where they work.  These reforms will allow the public to see first-hand where police misconduct cases are in the criminal justice system, and build the necessary bridges of communication and trust."

Howard adds that many of the proposals being made by Mosby are already in place in Fulton County (Atlanta).

Mosby believes these policies will better protect good officers and the communities they have been called to serve. The implementation of the reforms will require a combination of state laws, local laws, and MOUs, and she welcomes input from all interested stakeholders.

“The framework I’ve outlined is by no means set in stone,” Mosby concluded. “I fully expect to receive input from elected leaders, law enforcement, and social justice stakeholders. I welcome their feedback and look forward to building a diverse coalition of support around these reforms.”

To see the full proposal, click here.