BALTIMORE (WJZ) — She’s fed up and she’s not afraid who knows it. State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby says witness intimidation needs to end if Baltimore is going to stop the violence.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren with her new op-ed, which has intimidation back in the spotlight.
In a one-on-one interview with WJZ, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby spoke of the fear gripping witnesses as Baltimore struggles through some of the most violent months in the city’s history. Many believe testifying in court could cost them their lives.
“We have a flood of violence, but we don’t have a flood of witnesses that are coming forward to testify against these guys,” Mosby said.
“Stop Snitching,” popularized in an infamous video that hit Baltimore’s streets more than a decade ago, warned that talking to police and prosecutors could turn you into a target.
Now Mosby is drawing criticism for her decision not to share information on open cases with academics and community advocates for a new crime fighting program.
“What they’re looking to do is to have complete access to the police file,” Mosby said. “That sensitive information should not be in the hands of third parties.”
The fear of intimidation is real. The Dawson family–mom, dad and their five children–were all killed on Preston Street in East Baltimore. They had complained about drug dealing on their block.
“They’ll look at statements of probable cause. They’ll intimidate witnesses any way that they can,” said Mosby. “And we have a number of examples in recent months that that’s been the case.”
“I was on jury duty one time, and I could see individuals walking past the jury room,” said Mosby.
Intimidation has even stopped people from coming forward in cases involving children–like the murder of three-year-old McKenzie Elliott–despite pleas from Mosby herself.
She says, still, one of the biggest challenges to getting convictions is getting people to talk.
“In Baltimore City, this is the home of witness intimidation, where the ‘Stop Snitching’ mentality began,” Mosby said.
Baltimore had 45 murders last month, which tied the all-time record high in 1972.