Freddie Gray

Baltimore Police Union Open Letter to State's Attorney: 'Not one of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Mr. Gray'

Union wants independent prosecutor, cites relationships with lawyers associated with the defense, as well as husband's seat on the city council



The president of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in Baltimore wrote an open letter to the state's attorney, Marilyn Mosby, asking her to appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether the six cops involved in Freddie Gray's homicide should face charges. The FOP insists all the officers involved in Gray's death in custody discharged their duties to protect the public that day. "Not one of the officers involved in this tragic situation left home in the morning with the anticipation that someone with whom they interacted would not go home that night," wrote Gene Ryan, the FOP president. "Not one of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Mr. Gray."

Ryan brought up Mosby's husband, who represents the neighborhood where Gray was apprehended by police, saying his political future, "for better or worse," would be tied to her investigation of the officers involved in Gray's death. Probably not the conflict of interest Councilman Mosby expected when his wife won the election last year.  Unmentioned by the union were Mosby's other family relations—a mother, father, and grandfather who were cops. Maybe it's useful in cases where the state's attorney would settle for taxpayer money to the victims and the brutalizers return to the streets, as has seemed to be the standard process. The union also cited Mosby's relationship with Gray family William Murphy, a prominent trial lawyer who narrated the video "10 Rules for Dealing With Police," as well as the lead prosecutor's "connections with members of the local media."

But in principle, Ryan's correct. An independent prosecutor should investigate all questionable police incidents, not just this one. Ryan refers to "litigation" related to this incident in which some reporters might have to testify. So appointing an independent prosecutor, should she, for example, produce even heftier charges, could lead to litigation too. But the important question is: where do police get the privileges masquerading as rights that offer all these avenues for litigation and appeal? Everyone deserves due process, even the cops in the middle of this. But what part of the Constitution ties a cop's privilege to carry a gun and enforce the law to the due process afforded him and the rest of us? The union has every right to write an open letter to the state's attorney. But cops shouldn't have an inherent right to their job.

Plenty of reasons why, maybe, cops shouldn't have unions.

Flashback: Before some Baltimore protests turned violent, the police union compared them to a "lynch mob."

Full letter, below the jump.

Dear Ms. Mosby,

Please allow this Open Letter to serve as my request, on behalf of the officers I represent as President of the Fraternal Order of Police for the Baltimore Police Department, that you appoint a Special Independent Prosecutor.

Each of the officers involved is sincerely saddened by Mr. Gray's passing. They are all committed police officers who have dedicated their careers to the Baltimore City Police Department. And that has been lost in all of the publicity. All death is tragic. And death associated with interaction with police is both shocking and frightening to the public. Not one of the officers involved in this tragic situation left home in the morning with the anticipation that someone with whom they interacted would not go home that night. Not one of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Mr. Gray. To the contrary, at all times, each of the officers diligently balanced their obligations to protect Mr. Gray and discharge their duties to protect the public.

I have full faith in your professional integrity. While I have the utmost respect for you and your office, I have very deep concerns about the many conflicts of interest presented by your investigation in this case. These conflicts include your personal and professional relationship with Gray family attorney, William Murphy and the lead prosecutor's connections with members of the local media. Based on several nationally televised interviews, these reporters are likely to be witnesses in any potential litigation regarding this incident. Most importantly, it is clear that your husband's political future will be impacted, for better or worse, by the outcome of your investigation. In order to avoid any appearance of impropriety or a violation of the Professional Rules of Professional Responsibility, I ask that you appoint a Special Prosecutor to determine whether or not any charges should be filed.

We recognize that there are many dimensions to this situation: the public sentiments—on all sides; the investigation being conducted by your Office; the internal police investigation; and a necessary review of the tools, equipment, and resources afforded to Baltimore police officers in order to carry out their sworn duty as police officers.

Thank you for your time in reading this letter and I hope that this communication may serve to open up a dialogue in the future.

Gene Ryan

President FOP #3

NEXT: Where Were You in 1995, When the Internet Was Privatized?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Not one of the officers involved in this tragic situation left home in the morning with the anticipation that someone with whom they interacted would not go home that night,”

    I was unaware that whether or not you committed homicide was determined by whether or not you planned to do so 3 hours earlier.

    1. meh. premeditation. lawyers. politicians. liars.

      1. They were charged with second degree depraved heart murder. No premeditation required.

    2. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……

  2. Those men are victims. Scapegoats. Who will come forward on their behalf, and speak truth to power?

    1. Freddie Gray? Oh wait, he’s dead.

  3. Oh, well that settles it then. Reinstated with pay, right? On to our next nickel ride!

    1. I can live with that outcome.

      Just one minor condition. Each of the officers’ commute to work for the next ten years will be in the back of a van. Handcuffed. With no seatbelt.

      We have a deal?

      1. Who’s driving?

        1. Is Stevie Wonder available?

        2. Edward Kennedy.

        3. Asian grandma.

        4. Toonces.

    2. No raise and medal? FUCK THAT.

      1. “Yeah, who do we have to kill around here to get rewarded? Sheesh.”

  4. It does sound like a special prosecutor would be a good idea. Don’t give either side a reason to question the result, whatever it is (or at least any more reasons).

    1. I think a special prosecutor is always a good idea when it comes to LEO’s. It’s absolutely hilarious how they fight tooth and nail to keep that from happening though.

    2. When the Police Union ask for a “special” prosecutor, they mean “retarded”.

  5. WHAT

    “Most importantly, it is clear that your husband’s political future will be impacted, for better or worse, by the outcome of your investigation.”

    I can’t be the only one who reads this as the FOP effectively threatening to derail the political career of a prosecutor’s spouse in order to get her to drop the case.

    1. That’s actually the sort of internecine antagonism I can get behind. Cops and political hacks squaring off, rather than the normal state of affairs with hacks and cops taking turns fellating one another.

    2. I read it more benignly. “Your husband’s political future could be hurt by an acquittal or helped by a conviction, so you can’t be impartial.” But a threat would hardly be surprising.

      1. The perfect threat is something covered by a more benign second meaning. The target gets the message, but you can always claim innocence.

      2. Come on. That reads like ‘You sure do have a nice store here. If you don’t do what we say then, for better or worse, the future of your store may just be ‘impacted.”

    3. Outrageous. Fuck wearing a mask.

    4. We’ve seen equally bold threats and intimidation from police unions before, dude. They are tactless gorillas. But then, they can be because they never get punished for it.

      It’s actually funny how the union leadership reflects the attitudes of the rank and file so perfectly, at least towards non-cops.

  6. Oh, thank God, their *intentions* were good. Alright, charges rescinded, they didn’t *mean* to be involved in a scenario that left one of their arrestees with a severed spine.

    1. You who else had good intentions…

    2. You *KNOW* who else had good intentions (geez)…

      1. You, when you first typed this?

        1. DAMN YOU

        2. nice.

      2. The inventors of New Coke?

      3. You, when you posted that first comment? But I judge you anyway, ‘CUZ I DON’T.

      4. Boooooooooshhhhhh?

      5. Toad the Wet Sprocket?

        1. This is the correct answer. Well done.

  7. Ryan brought up Mosby’s husband, who represents the neighborhood where Gray was apprehended by police, saying his political future, “for better or worse,” would be tied to her investigation of the officers involved in Gray’s death.

    So they are threatening a prosecutor’s family in broad daylight, now.

    Wow. Just . . . wow.

    1. But you can’t torch an FOP office like you can a convenience store…

  8. What the fucking fuck is going on with this website?
    Why not just sell out to Gawker? It couldn’t be any worse.

    1. Determine Whether Six Officers Should Face Charges With This One Weird Trick

    2. Bounced around on a nickle ride, you won’t believe what happens next!

    3. What, do you not agree with a social justice lynch mob? Do exhortations of outrage fail to drown out your capacity for reason? perhaps you are a racist, then.

      1. Hold on, you think that the cops didn’t do anything wrong, and that this is just being blown out of proportion by “social justice” crusaders? If it is a joke, it isn’t funny.

  9. Surely, there is some anonymous hacker that can break into this bastards email and publish all the correspondence related to this incident. That way we can have a truly independent investigation.

  10. *looks around for hat tip, mumbles and walks away*

    1. There has been too much non-attribution. Too much pain. But I have an honorable compromise. Just walk away. Give me your stories, the news, the links, and the whole credit, and I’ll spare your hat-tips. Just walk away and we’ll give you a safe passageway in the commentariat. Just walk away and there will be an end to the horror.

      1. No one really needs a hat tip, anyway

  11. Who kill Freddy Gray? When after all. It was you and me.

    1. woo woo

  12. I have noticed that the protests and riots seem to be preceded by questionable incidents, or ones that are clearly justified. Trayvon, Brown, Grey.

    When the case is clear cut such as Tamir Rice, Walter Scott…the list is too long to write, nothing. Where are the marches? The riots?

    Someone explain to me why they choose the hinkey ones?

    1. Small number statistics? There were protests after the death of Eric Gardner.

      1. I forgot about that one. There have been so many I can’t keep up.

    2. Honestly, I’m starting to think it’s one of the oldest tricks of totalitarians. For a case like Rice or Scott, people agreeing with you still retain their independent judgement. They can still decide for themselves what they will support and what they won’t. If, on the other hand, you get people to support absolute bullshit, you’ve got them. They’ve given up their judgement. They’ll accept any bullshit you tell them.

      It’s sort of like Hillary Clinton getting her supporters to claim that she’s running to be a champion against political corruption.

    3. I’m not the first to suspect this, but in clear cases of police abuse there’s a risk that all people of good will unite against the abuse. With a more borderline case, you have a better chance of polarizing the community and increasing your power.

      1. I mean, possibility #1, the cop gets cleared and you whip up the mob about the supposed cover-up.

        Possibility #2, the cop gets convicted, and you glorify yourself as the person who led the victorious mob.

      2. I think you nailed it.

        Thank you.

        1. I think that may explain my the media pays more attention to certain protests, but the Baltimore case didn’t really get that much attention until the riots broke out. Same thing with Ferguson to a good extent. I don’t think the riots are the result of a coordinated effort to divide the populace and there’s no evidence to suggest that. I think it’s much more likely that even questionable incidents can blow the lid on situations that have been tense and unstable for long periods of time.

          Also, this case doesn’t seem that questionable to me. At best, the cops acted extremely recklessly and indifferent and have tried to cover that up. At worst, they intentionally killed him. Regardless, they deserve blame for the outcome.

    4. This case I think is much more straightforward than the Brown and Trayvon shootings. They went after this kid based on no real cause – the prosecutor has actually already said that the knife they used as justification to arrest him was NOT a switchblade and was actually a pen knife which is legal in Baltimore. They beat him with batons and pulled him into the back of a van, then said in their report he’d been arrested ‘without incident.’ Apparently hitting someone a bunch of times with batons and dragging them into the back of a van doesn’t count as an ‘incident’ the Baltimore cops.

      There is a lot of evidence to suggest this was reckless homicide of some kind. I don’t think they planned to kill him, but this one looks much worse than Brown and Martin.

    5. Most of those cases have at the very least resulted in protests. Riots are complex things – the factors influencing them can be examined, but there’s not a mathematical formula for when one is going to break out. But when a community is used to constant police abuse, most people there are going to by very skeptical (to put it lightly) of police even in questionable circumstances. Throw in an impoverished, high-crime urban environment, and these things can happen even in murky situations. Low-income areas of St. Louis and Baltimore are also pretty bad even by the standards of low-income urban areas of this country, so it doesn’t surprise me that riots broke out in these places as opposed to other cities.

      1. “Mathematical formula”

        The formula is:

        Rumors of a riot anywhere in the country = probably a riot in Oakland

    6. I’ll take the bait … Perhaps it’s because for 40 years the government has actively fucked things up by creating a black market for all manner of substances. Completely ignoring the fact that you can never solve the demand side issue in a (presumably) free society, or that the ensuing black market would attract those at a disadvantage and with limited opportunity, they support the militarization and general assholization of the police when the black market turns violent by funding more police on the streets, and with surplus military hardware.
      This in turn led to the active profiling and targeting of youth within the communities where the government manufactured black market took hold. This, naturally, bred mistrust between the police and the community. Following decades of targeting, profiling and abuse and the hands of state authorities, is it any surprise that this community would revolt? It’s a reflexive, conditioned response against a system that has produced innumerable injustices. Sadly, to them, the merits of any individual case at this point are meaningless. But this was predictable, and preventable. The government created this crisis.

      1. Exactly correct.

    7. I’m not sure how the Grey case falls into the questionable or clearly justified category. They arrested a guy who had committed no crime and without probable cause, they put him in the van without restraints recklessly and in clear violation of policy, ignored his complaints, and then he died in the back of their van. It’s not absolutely clear how he died in the back of the van (there is no video that we know of), but all of the evidence points towards a rough ride. Even if it wasn’t an intentional rough ride, they still arrested a guy without probable cause and then proceeded to act incredibly recklessly in taking him in. There’s no possible self-defense case here.

    8. Huh? You think the Grey incident was handled properly by the police? Are you drunk?

  13. Just think, none of this would have happened absent the WOD. The burning of American cities in 2015 and beyond will be the sad, prolonged denouement to decades of failed policies.

  14. Geez, Quebec is pretty corrupt but man, Baltimore…wow.

    1. Are you questioning the integrity of Harm City? Your commenting future will be impacted, for better or worse, by the outcome of the investigation by Special Prosecutor Buttplug.

      1. /wipes sweat from eyebrow. Tear from eye.

  15. William Murphy, a prominent trial lawyer who narrated the video “10 Rules for Dealing With Police,”

    That’s where I’d seen that guy before!

  16. Fact: 90% of the population still loves cops, including my grandmother. BOO YAH!

    1. Your handle anyways makes me grin like an idiot. Well, like more of an idiot.

  17. “He just broke. It happens sometimes.”

  18. After reading about that inquest jury in Montana that cleared the cop in a truly borderline situation, I am beginning to think that deaths at the hands of cops should all have inquests. The exception, as in Montana, should be where there’s going to be a full prosecution, but frankly, in a riot situation, there’s such risk of hasty prosecution that an inquest may be the way to go. And I don’t think a change of venue could be pulled in such a case, so it will be the members of the local community, and they’ll have the option of recommending prosecution.

  19. What we need is bigger government and stronger unions.

    1. ^This guy gets it.

    2. And more roads.

      1. more school spending

        because everyone knows the smartest kids come from places where they spend the most

        1. Are these numbers adjusted for cost of living? Not defending this by any means… just wondering.

          1. I have a lovely condo in baltimore to sell you if you’re interested.

  20. One would think, this incident along with the other well publicized incidents of police abuse will result in less aggressive policing. And I think that’s a good thing, people should only be arrested when absolutely necessary. But, like NYC after the 2 cops were murdered, when arrests plummeted almost 70%, there was a loss of millions in revenue to the city… How will leftists react to this?

    1. “How will leftists react to this?”


    2. In NYC it’s the leftists (i.e. city council) leading the demands for the police to cut this shit out, believe it or not. The tabloids are freaking out, needless to say.

      1. Dude, do you even read the papers?

        The @*(#&$@ city council used the opportunity of “police criticism” to demand half a billion MOAR MONEY for the po po

        Because, see = that’s how liberals ‘fix’ things. Mo money. Its all carrot.

    3. “[…]How will leftists react to this?”

      By raising taxes.
      That was easy!

  21. OK, so this may be, in a peripheral sense, an employment matter. Right now, it is primarily a LE matter. So why in hell does the union even have a seat at the table?
    If an electrician kill someone, does the IBEW get to frame the debate?

    1. Because it is in the union’s interest to have more cops. Sticking them in jail kind of goes against their primary mission.

  22. “Not one of the officers involved in this tragic situation left home in the morning with the anticipation that someone with whom they interacted would not go home that night,”

    I laughed.

  23. Initially, this story was another nutpunch. I seriously would disband all SWAT teams and de-militarize police….BUT, the police chief raises valid points when he compares these 6 officers to the Duke Lacrosse case. First, the seatbelt issue, in violation of policy, is technically correct, but the policy had only been changed 3 days earlier, the officers had received a bunch of pages of new procedures, but the changes hadn’t been read out in roll call. We all get those 30-40 pages memos at work on new policies….and honestly don’t all read them within 2-3 days. Secondly, the DA said “I hear your voices” as she read out the charges. She’s not supposed to “hear” any voices, she’s supposed to decide based on facts, not politics or rioters.

  24. That’s a nice husband you got there. It’d be a shame if something were to happen to him.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.