BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The City has announced a new multi-million dollar federal grant that will be used to help victims and witnesses to violent crime.
City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby says 20 percent of cases that are dropped in Baltimore are because victims or witnesses won’t cooperate. Now she hopes to turn that around.
On June 8, 2014, Ernest Barnes Jr. was gunned down in Northeast Baltimore and his killers were never caught.
“That one day that I couldn’t be there for him was the day I lost him,” said Latanya Bryant, the mother of Barnes.
Since that day, Latanya Bryant has pleaded for witnesses to speak out in her son’s murder and so many others.
“More people just need to come forward. I just wish they would,” said Bryant.
Breaking through the code of silence is a tall task in Baltimore.
“We live in the home of witness intimidation where the stop snitching mentality began. We have to be able to break down barriers of mistrust,” said Mosby.
Now Mosby hopes a new $2.4 million federal grant will help alleviate some of those barriers.
The grant will allow the City to hire seven new victim advocates. Those advocates would help victims and witnesses navigate the justice system.
“This is something that will really help our efforts to make our city safer,” said Mosby.
“With advocates that work under our roof, it puts us in a position to do better,” said City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
Daphne Alston, president of Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters, has fought for more advocates.
“It’s so important for us moms. Because we just feel like we’re left alone. We have to fight for ourselves,” said Alston.
As for Latanya Bryant the street Ernest Barnes was murdered on is all she has left of her son.
“Everyday for the rest of my life until god calls me home, I will fight for him,” she said.
And for so many others who’ve suffered a similar tragedy.
The new grant will allow there to be advocates in nearly every department at the state’s attorney’s office. The grant is part of $46 million in federal funding announced by Governor Hogan yesterday.