Critics are accusing Mosby, the Baltimore State’s Attorney, of crossing the line after she appeared on stage with Prince Sunday during a concert where the popular musician performed a spirited song about the Freddie Gray case.
Prince performed “Baltimore,” a song he released this month in response to Gray’s death and the riots in Baltimore. Mosby’s appearance on stage has certainly sent her critics into a rage, but was she wrong for appearing with Prince? I don’t think so.
If you pay attention to Prince’s lyrics, he never talks in detail about the case, Mosby, or the ongoing investigation. And Prince didn’t say anything that Mosby hasn’t already said herself.
“Nobody got in nobody’s way, so I guess you could say it was a good day, at least a little better than the day in Baltimore. Does anybody hear us pray, for Michael Brown or Freddie Gray? Peace is more than the absence of a war,” Prince sang.
“If there ain’t no justice than there ain’t no peace.”
“The system is broken,” Prince told the audience. “It’s going to take the young people to fix it this time. We need new ideas, new life.”
Freddie Gray suffered a severed spine and died in police custody on April 19. Mosby charged six Baltimore police officers with Gray’s death. Attorneys for the six cops have filed motions to have Mosby removed from the case, citing several conflicts of interest.
Did Prince align himself with supporters of the Freddie Gray investigation? Yes, probably so. But since the concert was designed to call for peace in Baltimore after the riots, it seemed appropriate, in my view, for Mosby to attend the concert as a public servant embracing a peaceful event. According to The Baltimore Sun, Mosby’s husband, Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby, gave his wife, a longtime Prince fan, the tickets for the concert as a Mother’s Day gift.
Prince invited Mosby to the stage where she listened and enjoyed the concert like everyone else. She never once addressed the crowd. Mosby shouldn’t have to avoid public events simply because she’s city state’s attorney.
Mosby’s critics are taking aim at her because she is young, 35-years-old, and relates to many of the young protestors – most of whom are Black — who are calling for police reform and an overhaul of the criminal justice system in Baltimore.
“I heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace,’” Mosby said last week when she announced charges against the officers. “Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man.”
Meanwhile, the six officers who Mosby charged with Gray’s death claim that Mosby has several personal, political and professional conflicts of interest and that she should remove herself from the case and allow a special prosecutor to take over. The motion says Mosby’s prosecution has been “overzealous” and “politically motivated.”
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) came to Mosby’s defense, saying she has integrity.
“I understand what they’re doing. They’re going to throw everything including the spigot, the kitchen sink and the pipes at her, but again we need to let justice move forward,” Cummings told CNN. “If the officers are innocent, they’ll be found innocent.”
Mosby defended the charges in an interview with CBS News, saying: “At the end of the day this was a thorough investigation to get to the right result and I believe that we did.”
There are some who believe that Mosby, as the city’s top lawyer, should stay within the confines of her office and do her job without being seen to avoid the appearance of impropriety. But being invisible is not what Mosby is all about. Baltimore voters elected Mosby because she is an aggressive, outspoken, fierce defender of justice and she takes great pride as the people’s prosecutor.
“I think that the priorities of the state’s attorney’s office are off and they’ve set a tone where there is already a culture of distrust,” Mosby said on Election Night in November. “People are distrustful of the criminal justice system.”
Mosby’s high-profile presence at the Prince concert was also a clear message to her chorus of critics: There’s a new sheriff in town.
What do you think?