Ron Martinelli, Ph.D., CMI-V
Forensic Criminologist/Police Expert
Copyright © July 27, 2016
This morning, Baltimore State’s Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby dropped all remaining charges against Baltimore Police Officers Garrett Miller, William Porter and Alicia White, who were the remaining three officers of the six charged with murder and a variety of other felony crimes in the death of felony suspect Freddie Gray. This decision undoubtedly came about following Ms. Mosby’s and her prosecution team’s dismal and embarrassing performance during the trials of Officers Caesar Goodson, Jr., Edward Nero, and Lieutenant Brian Rice, that resulted in acquittals by Circuit Court Judge Barry G. Williams, who is himself a black jurist.
So what went “wrong” here? State Prosecutor Mosby, the liberal mainstream media, members of the Black Lives Matter movement and undoubtedly Democratic candidate for President Hillary Clinton must be thinking today. Here’s the answer; absolutely nothing. A competent, knowledgeable and impartial jurist reviewed the forensic facts of the case and determined that the prosecution had far from met their burden of proof necessary to convict the officers of any of the charges. That is exactly the way that our criminal justice system is designed to work.
As a forensic criminologist and federal/state courts expert in forensic investigations and police practices, I have investigated hundreds of officer-involved death cases; including a number of high-profile cases many of you have heard about. I have worked all sides of cases from criminal defense, to prosecution; to the civil ligation of wrongful death cases involving police officers. Unlike attorneys or politicians who advocate for people; my advocacy is for forensic facts and evidence; no matter where those facts take me. I follow the evidence and what can be proven.
The problem with our society today – unfortunately including this new generation of prosecutors – is that they do not understand the concept of true advocacy. They have an emotional response; rather than a studied analysis of the fact patterns of incidents involving violent police encounters with suspects.
As Prosecutor Mosby, her team, the media and so-called “No Justice; No Peace” Black Lives Matter supporters have embarrassingly learned time and time again in the cases of Trayvon Martin v. George Zimmerman (Stafford, FL); Michael Brown v. Officer Darren Wilson (Ferguson, MO); the State v. Officer Michael Brelo (Cleveland, OH); and now the State v. the Freddie Gray officers (Baltimore, MD); it is ultimately the forensic facts and not the false narratives that prevail in an ethical court of law.
So how do prosecutors, the media, politicians and the public get it wrong? They forget that real advocacy means a patient, unemotional, and forensic determination of all of the circumstances, statements, facts and forensic evidence. Such investigations require a reconciliation of that information against the representations of the involved parties to determine more likely than not what the real truth is. Prosecutors like Mosby forget that their advocacy isn’t really for people “victims;” it’s for the facts and evidence. This is because unfortunately, some people who are initially represented to be “victims;” end up actually being suspects instead. Such has clearly been the case with the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and now Freddie Gray. I have observed this time and time again in my practice.
The plain truth is that sometimes prosecutors, politicians and the media have to give bad news to the families of the deceased and the public that is fact based. From what I see, they have been sadly lacking in this important responsibility. Instead, we hear from our highest leader that, “The police acted stupidly.” This rhetoric, which was based upon yet another false narrative in the Professor Henry Gates v. Sgt. Crowley (Cambridge, MA) case, diminishes relations between police and their communities. And as we have recently and tragically witnessed, can contribute to the murders of police officers.
While the fact that suspects such as Martin, Brown, Gray and many others that have died as a result of police encounters is a tragedy; it in no way makes these men martyrs in the current “War on Police” we are experiencing in our country today. For instance, with Freddie Gray, I am absolutely amazed that people in the same community where Gray repeatedly sold heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine to poison his own people and forever sentence them to a life of addiction, would actually paint a mural celebrating his life. That’s the society we have become.
People are more inclined to assign blame to the police than accept forensic facts and the truth of a person’s criminal culpability. It is just so easy to accept the false narrative that police are always the “bad guys;” than to believe that it is the very police they vilify who respond to society’s problems that has created a criminal environment that turns innocent citizens into hostages in their own homes.
Rather than the police needing “de-escalation” training; it is really the public, prosecutors like Marilyn Mosby, politicians and the media who need to calm down and take a more studied and educated response to officer-involved uses of force and death cases.
When police officers fail in their oath to serve and protect, they need to be disciplined and/or prosecuted. No one in the law enforcement or forensic communities disagrees with this. However, this constant assailing of our law enforcement community where prosecutors, the public, politicians and the mainstream media want to keep banging a square peg into a round hole must end. If the public continues down this path of false narratives and the misrepresentation of justice advocacy, we will see law enforcement in this country become more akin to Second or Third World policing models. Let me know how that works out for you.
Ron Martinelli, Ph.D., is a retired San Jose (CA) police detective who directs the nation’s only multidisciplinary Forensic Death Investigations & Independent Review Team. Dr. Martinelli, has personally investigated hundreds of police-involved death cases and uses of force. He is the author of the best-selling book, “The Truth Behind the Black Lives Matter Movement and the War on Police,” (Amazon.com). His forensic site is found at: http://www.DrRonMartinelli.com.