Last Monday, a teen who had recently been arrested for Grand Theft Auto killed Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio after she responded to calls of burglary in the northeast suburb of Perry Hall. When Caprio, a four-year veteran of the department, confronted the four teens who were allegedly breaking into homes, she drew her weapon and ordered them to get out of their vehicle. Instead, the 16-year-old driver ran her over. Caprio was pronounced dead hours later at a nearby hospital.
The racially charged incident — Caprio was white and the four teens were black — has set off a "racial firestorm" over what went wrong, but the president of a Baltimore chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police says one person in particular deserves the lion's share of the blame: Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who made headlines for her social justice rhetoric following the death of Freddie Gray and her subsequent overcharging of six officers that resulted in all the charges dropped.
In a blistering op-ed published by The Baltimore Sun Friday, Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3, laid the blame squarely at the feet of Mosby, whose "catch and release" policies, says Ryan, allowed for yet another criminal who had made clear that he was a danger to the community to remain on the street.
"There are fingers being pointed at everyone involved, by everyone involved, and yes, there are disappointments aplenty," Ryan writes. "The failure, however, lies with State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and her continuing inability to understand the importance that her office plays in combating crime in Baltimore City."
Ryan slams Mosby for her "apparent 'catch and release' philosophy of criminal enforcement," which he says has "strained" the relationship between the judiciary and law enforcement and ultimately led to the release of the suspect, Dawnta Harris, who is accused of deliberately running over and killing Officer Caprio:
Dawnta Harris is the latest on a long list of those who have posed an obvious danger to the community but who have, for whatever reason, been released pending trial or in many instances have not even stood trial. Whether or not the home detention system used to hinder his movement was equipped with a GPS locator is not the failure in this sad saga. The fact that he was sent home pending trial at all is the true failure here. Mr. Harris has a history of criminal activity and escape. He undeniably presented a danger to our citizens and should have been detained accordingly. It was the responsibility of Ms. Mosby, as the Baltimore City State’s Attorney, to ensure this outcome. She did not, and we are angry that a brilliant young woman who dedicated her life to public service is now gone from us.
Ryan concludes by mourning the loss of "a Sister in Blue" and underscoring Mosby's failure to perform her duties in a way that promotes the confidence and security of citizens.
"The members of Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3 have lost a Sister in Blue, and, because of Ms. Mosbys continuing failures, the citizens of Baltimore have lost the sense of security that they so well deserve," he writes.