In office only since January and young as the top state prosecutor for Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby might have felt overwhelmed as the crisis of Freddie Gray swelled. The city wondered how she would respond when handed the police report into Mr Gray’s death on Thursday. With speed, we learned yesterday.
Her youth notwithstanding, Ms Mosby, 35, may have the perfect profile not just for the position she holds but also for the maelstrom that the death of Mr Gray spawned. An African-American raised in a gritty neighbourhood of Boston, she cannot be accused of not understanding the black community. Her husband, Nick Mosby, is a Baltimore Councilman who has spoken out forcibly about Monday’s riots.
But she knows police culture too. In Boston, her mother, father and grandfather were all police officers. Campaigning for her job last year she said she decided to be a prosecutor when she was 14, the year one of her cousins, was shot to death outside her family home. He was seventeen and a volunteer lifeguard.
“I’ve seen my family blood, the same blood that runs through my veins, spilled on my front door,” she said on the day she announced her campaign. “I’ve locked my doors. I’ve clutched my purse.”
Then she spoke up for police, asserting: “It is my genuine belief despite what we might all want to think, what we might want to believe, the police officers in this city are doing their jobs.” But she also signaled her determination to root out those officers guilty of abuse. “Police brutality is completely inexcusable. I'm going to apply justice fairly, even to those who wear a badge,” she said.