No Justice, No Peace

There is never any reason not to be who you want to be or make a difference in people's lives. It is not about being black or white and growing up in an all white/black neighbourhood. It is about having a dream to be better, having a plan to achieve your dreams and pursuing it. Most importantly you have got to have a HEART which is what this woman does...                

Marilyn Mosby has captured the world's attention after she announced she was pressing charges against Baltimore officers in the death of Freddie Gray.

By the end of her speech, the Baltimore prosecutor's name was a top trending term on Twitter in the United States. The #MarilynMosby hashtag has been used over 700,000 times on Twitter in the week since the protests began.

At 35, she is the youngest chief prosecutor of any major city in the United States. Shortly before she became the youngest top prosecutor in any major American city, Marilyn J. Mosby, a daughter and granddaughter of police officers, had tough words about how the nation’s criminal justice system had handled mistreatment of black men by the police.

“It’s been 78 days since Michael Brown was shot in the street by a police officer,” Ms. Mosby said in October at her alma mater, Tuskegee University in Alabama. “It’s been 101 days since Eric Garner was choked to death in New York by a police officer, and 54 days since the New York City medical examiner ruled that incident a homicide. Neither has resulted in an indictment.”

Friday morning, Ms. Mosby made clear that she intends to proceed at a different pace. Her stunning announcement that she would prosecute six officers in the death of Freddie Gray landed her squarely in the national spotlight, making her a heroine to those demanding better police treatment of black men, but drawing sharp criticism from critics who accuse her of pursuing a political agenda and who say she moved too quickly.

At 35, Ms. Mosby — whose official title is the Maryland state’s attorney for Baltimore City — has been shaped by her own experience growing up black in a tough part of town. As a student in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester, she would awaken at 5 a.m. for an hourlong bus ride to attend school in a wealthy white suburb; she was the only black child there.

When she was 14, her cousin was mistaken for a drug dealer, and shot and killed on the doorstep of her home. As adults, she said in an interview, both she and her husband — Nick Mosby, a member of the Baltimore City Council — have learned what it feels like to be looked upon with suspicion by the police.

“I’ve had experiences as an African-American woman where I’ve been harassed by police, or my husband has been pulled over and harassed by police,” she said in an interview Friday in her office, near police headquarters in downtown Baltimore. “Does that give me a perspective? I think it does.”

Ms. Mosby’s turn in the spotlight comes after just four months on the job. She was elected in November, ousting the incumbent, Gregg L. Bernstein, after campaigning aggressively on a vow to prosecute police misconduct.

After attending college at Tuskegee, where she met her future husband, and law school at Boston College, where she received her degree in 2005, she decided with Mr. Mosby to settle in Baltimore, where he grew up. It was less expensive than Boston; they bought a run-down house in Reservoir Hill, an especially gritty neighborhood.

“He points to a 20-year-old dilapidated vacant shell with no roof and a tree growing out of the middle of the ground, and he’s like, ‘This is where I want to live,’ ” she said, recounting their house-hunting excursion. “And I looked at the open-air drug market and the trash in the streets and the number of vacant houses on the street and I’m like, ‘You’re crazy.’ ”

She was a law clerk in the Baltimore prosecutor’s office before becoming an assistant state’s attorney in 2006; Mr. Pettit, who represented defendants whom she prosecuted, remembers her as tenacious and uncompromising. Once, he tried to get her to cut a plea deal with a client who, he argued, had acted in self-defense.“I couldn’t seem to get her to give one inch of ground,” he said.

Ms. Mosby later spent about three years working as a lawyer for an insurance company, Liberty Mutual, before she was elected to the city prosecutor’s job last year. When she challenged Mr. Bernstein, who is white, in the Democratic primary, most people thought she would lose, and she was vastly outspent, Mr. Pettit said.

Sonia Kumar, a staff lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, said family members like Ms. Jones had a big part in turning out the vote. “Her actions really told us who she is today,” Ms. Kumar said of Ms. Mosby. “For years and years, victims of police violence in our city, overwhelmingly black people, have sought justice for their loved ones to no avail. This is an historic moment.”

"I come from five generations of police officers," Mosby said on a local political radio show in 2014. "I know the sacrifices police officers make day in and day out away from their families and risking their lives."

Source: New York Times, BBC News