Five of the six Baltimore police officers who were charged in the death of Freddie Gray have won again in a lawsuit against Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby. After putting the officers on trial without the evidence to back up the charges against them, a federal judge in Maryland is allowing a “malicious prosecution” case against her to move forward.
Officers Garrett Miller, Edward Nero, and William Porter, Sgt. Alicia White and Lt. Brian Rice have sued Mosby and Assistant Sheriff Samuel Cogen in federal court, alleging they knowingly brought false charges. Officer Caesar Goodson, who drove the van in which Gray was placed, was not a part of the lawsuit.
The Baltimore Sun reports:
U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis ruled that claims including malicious prosecution, defamation, and invasion of privacy can move forward against Mosby and Assistant Sheriff Samuel Cogen, who wrote the statement of probable cause.
Mosby’s attorneys had said she has absolute prosecutorial immunity from actions taken as a state’s attorney. But Garbis noted that her office has said it conducted an independent investigation.
“Plaintiffs’ malicious prosecution claims relate to her actions when functioning as an investigator and not as a prosecutor,” Garbis wrote.
Other counts, such as false arrest, false imprisonment and abuse of process, were dismissed, as Garbis had signaled he would do at an October hearing. All claims against the state were also dismissed.
“Viewed in the light most favorable to the Plaintiffs, they present allegations that present a plausible claim that the defendants made false statements or omissions either knowingly or with reckless disregard of their truth or falsity,” Garbis wrote, believing that there was enough support by the plaintiffs to support the lawsuit. “…the court is determining that the existence of this affirmative defense is not clear on the face of the complaint and a firm conclusion on the reasonableness of the probable cause determination requires greater factual development.”
Based on the claims of the officers, Garbis wrote, “no reasonable person could conclude that Plaintiffs failed to seat belt Gray due to gross or criminal negligence under the circumstances.”
“Rather, as Plaintiffs allege, the [rule on using seat belts] was new, they needed to quickly move the wagon to avoid growing crowds, Gray was physically uncooperative making it hard to position him in the wagon, and they did not know Gray was hurt,” Garbis added. “Plaintiffs have alleged facts adequate to present a plausible Fourth Amendment claim.”
Mosby attempted to block the release of Freddie Gray’s autopsy so that she could continue to push a racially motivated prosecution. However, the reason was clear why she wanted it kept secret. The autopsy report didn’t confirm the story they were selling. By the way, Mosby didn’t even have the autopsy report until just before the charges were announced.
According to former Deputy State’s Attorney Page Croyder, “Her mind was already made up. Ditto with the police report.”
“In fact, Ms. Mosby was so hasty it appears she locked up two completely innocent officers,” Croyder added. “She charged Freddie Gray’s arresting officers with ‘false imprisonment’ because she said the knife that Gray had on him was legal. In fact, as The Sun reported, the Police Task Force found it to be illegal after all. It was Ms. Mosby who had no probable cause to lock the arresting officers up, an injustice she could have easily avoided by taking her time.”
According to the judge, prosecutors are usually immune from lawsuits, but not if they act as the investigator.
We’ll see what develops, but at least at this point, maybe Ms. Mosby is about to get hers.