Baltimore, MD – The notoriously anti-police Baltimore state’s attorney told members of the state Commission to Restore Trust in Policing on Tuesday that she had concerns about the integrity of 305 Baltimore police officers and might not be able to put them on the witness stand.
“We have 305 officers with integrity issues and/or allegations of integrity issues that would in essence put them in jeopardy from testifying,” Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn announced during the meeting at the University of Baltimore Law School, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Mosby said she sent her list – which is comprised of 15 percent of the Baltimore Police Department’s force – to the police department so that the administration can take action.
She first talked about the list in October at a policing forum where she claimed the State’s Attorney’s Office had “created an internal sort of notification system,” The Baltimore Sun reported.
“We notify the police department whenever there is a sustained allegation of credibility issues or even an allegation that isn’t sustained,” Mosby explained. “So we will summarize whatever the issue may be, and then we provide that list to the police department for them to determine what they’re going to do with their employee … There are hundreds of officers on that list.”
Public defenders immediately complained that prosecutors had not shared the list with defense attorneys.
“We do not have any information about whether the State’s Attorney has compiled a list of officers with credibility issues,” Baltimore Office of the Public Defender Spokeswoman Melissa Rothstein told The Baltimore Sun in an email. “If so, this would be classic Brady material, constitutionally required for disclosure, that we would expect to get a copy of.”
“Brady material” is a reference to any information that would put the credibility of a witness in doubt and must be disclosed to defense attorneys.
But Baltimore Police Deputy Commissioner of Public Integrity Brian Nadeau disputed Mosby’s assertions and said that most of the officers on her list do not have any credibility issues, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Commissioner Nadeau said that only 22 of the 305 officers on the prosecutor’s list should not be called to testify.
But he also said that only two of the 22 problem officers were still members of the Baltimore Police Department, and those two were still under administrative review, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Commissioner Nadeau, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent who joined the Baltimore police administration in September, said he wasn’t aware of any cases that hadn’t been charged because of Mosby’s list.
He said there was nothing to preclude the other 283 officers on Mosby’s list from doing their jobs or testifying in court, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Commissioner Nadeau said “quite a few” of the officers on Mosby’s list were the subjects of complaints that had not been sustained.
“Nobody on that list that I wouldn’t have working on the street, making cases,” he said.
But Mosby maintained that there were at least 20 officers on the list who were still working for the police department who were too corrupt to ever be called as witnesses, WJZ reported.
When a Baltimore police officer receives a complaint, internal affairs investigates whatever the officer is accused of having done and determines whether the complaint should be sustained, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Once a complaint is sustained, internal affairs will recommend discipline, and the officer has the choice to accept the finding or take the case to a trial board, which can lead to additional discipline or termination.
Ultimately, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison has the final say over what happens to the accused officer, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Mosby’s office wouldn’t elaborate on the status of the 305 officers on her naughty list, nor confirm how many remained with the department or how many times the allegations were sustained.
She said the list was created to be shared with defense attorneys, but that she also hoped it would alert the police department to problems, The Baltimore Sun reported.
“We also think it’s important for the police department to make a determination of what they are going to do with their employees,” Mosby said.
Despite the fact he was able to dispute most of Mosby’s assertions, Commissioner Nadeau said he was still working to improve the department’s internal affairs processes and said “the problem is the volume of cases,” The Baltimore Sun reported.
He said he wants to see the process reduced from a year to 90 days after a complaint is filed and said he was bringing 11 new detectives into internal affairs to help speed up the process.
Commissioner Nadeau also said there needed to be a more straightforward process for officers who admitted wrongdoing at the outset of a complaint, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Defense attorneys complained in October, when Mosby first discussed the list, that her office hadn’t distributed it to them.
However, the State’s Attorney’s Office does routinely disclose concerns about officers involved in its cases even if they haven’t done so in list form, and some defense attorneys complained about the waste of time, The Baltimore Sun reported.
“Some of this stuff is downright mundane,” defense attorney Joshua Insley said. “It will be like sleeping in your car from five years ago.”