Embattled Marilyn Mosby Defeated In Primary Race For Baltimore’s Top Prosecutor
Ivan Bates won the Democratic primary for chief prosecutor in Baltimore on Tuesday, defeating incumbent Marilyn Mosby and Thiru Vignarajah.
Bates won 39.8% of votes, according most recent numbers from Maryland Board of Elections, also tallying Vignarajah at 30.4% and Mosby at 29.8%, coming in last.
The Associated Press called the race projecting Bates as the winner on Friday.
Mosby, who became the youngest chief prosecutor when she was sworn into office in 2015, has been a controversial and embattled figure in Baltimore politics. She was indicted in January on charges of perjury and making false mortgage applications in order to obtain pandemic relief aid. Her trial has been set for Sept. 19.
Bates highlighted his track record of fighting against police corruption, including handling more than 30 cases involving cops on the gun trace task force and working to get federal indictments against them.
Bates also publicly disagreed with Mosby over the high-profile case of Keith Davis Jr., in which a Maryland judge said Mosby had used “antagonistic” tactics.
The ongoing legal battle with Davis came after he was suspected of robbing an unlicensed cab driver. Officers chased Davis, firing 32 rounds and striking him three times.
Davis was found not guilty in the armed robbery, but was later charged for murder in a shooting of a security guard that occurred hours before the incident with the cab driver. Police said they found a gun on Davis that was tied to the shooting, but Davis alleges that officers planted the gun on him. The case has gone to trial four times: The trial ended in a hung jury twice, the conviction was overturned once, and eventually Davis was convicted again and sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Davis’ family has called for his case to be thrown out and for him to be released from prison. Bates released a statement supporting a motion for Davis’ trial to be dismissed in March.
During Mosby’s tenure, Baltimore has had five police commissioners and four mayors in the last six years, in part because Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned in 2019 amid a scandal of her business dealings. The city has also struggled with police corruption and a high crime rate — issues that have further eroded residents’ trust in local law enforcement, which was already shaky after Freddie Gray died while in police custody seven years ago.
“These are some unprecedented types of challenges that we have been through,” Mosby told HuffPost on Friday.
Baltimore is still grappling with the fallout of police corruption related to a gun trace task force, a group of plainclothes officers who were supposed to tamp down gun trafficking. But the task force quickly began targeting Black residents, and some officers were caught planting guns on people. Officers involved in the task force faced allegations including selling drugs and committing robbery, and most members remain in federal prison.
In May, Mosby released a long-awaited “do not call” list of over 300 cops who had been accused of bad policing practices or excessive force. There is no punishment associated with the list, but Mosby said it provides transparency about officers in the city.
“It’s an integrity list, [which] no other office in the state has done. … You have police that do other things that go to their integrity, and I created a system where we disclose individuals for repeated violations,” Mosby said. “They are accusations, but they may be relevant. If you have accusations of repeated excessive force, it may be relevant in a case.”
Meanwhile, city officials have struggled to combat the city’s high crime rate. There have been at least 300 homicides in the city each year since 2015, giving Baltimore one of the highest homicide rates in the country per capita.
Just about a week before the election, a man ran down Black “squeegee kids” — a term developed by Baltimore locals to describe youth in the city who clean car windshields for money — with a bat in the city’s downtown area. The man was fatally shot on the scene by a 15-year-old who was charged as an adult. The case has reignited debates about crime in the city, self-defense and charging youths as adults.
Mosby has largely dismissed criticism during her tenure, blaming several factors — including having to work with Gov. Larry Hogan (R), whom she has called “antagonistic” — for issues in the city.
Both Bates and Vignarajah outraised Mosby during the campaign.
Vignarajah’s campaign focused on reducing record violence, building stronger cases against repeat violent offenders and breaking a cycle of poverty, crime and prison. He previously ran for top prosecutor in 2017 and for Baltimore mayor in 2020, but lost both races. He entered the State’s Attorney’s race in March as the most conservative Democrat on the ticket and earned an endorsement from Hogan.