Baltimore State’s attorney Marilyn Mosby was at the center of the media storm following the now-infamous Baltimore Riots that erupted in the city in response to the unlawful death of Freddie Gray, a Black man who died from injuries sustained while being forcibly detained and assaulted by Baltimore police during an arrest in April of 2015.
Mosby became a modern-day shero of sorts when she promised and delivered swift prosecution of the police officers involved in the arrest. Most of us remember her for her no-nonsense address to the press following Freddie Gray’s death in which she announced that charges would be filed against the officers responsible for murdering Freddie Gray, and her courageous actions thus far have now landed her in the pages of Vogue magazine.
Here’s an excerpt from their lengthy profile of Baltimore’s youngest in charge:
It was 21 minutes that would change her life and send ripples of both outrage and relief across the country. On the first day of May, as a battalion of lawyers stood on the steps of Baltimore’s War Memorial, state’s attorney Marilyn J. Mosby stepped up to the podium and did what no lead prosecutor in America had done in many turbulent months: bring swift and severe charges against police officers in the death of a black man.
A stunned cheer rose from the crowd as 35-year-old Mosby made her statement. The six officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray, who had died in April from spinal injuries sustained in custody, would face 28 counts, ranging from false imprisonment to second-degree murder. In forceful language, Mosby described her department’s investigation and how the state’s medical examiner had ruled Gray’s death a homicide. She acknowledged the unrest in Baltimore, coming on the heels of police killings in other cities of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice. “I have heard your calls for ‘No justice, no peace,’ ” she said. “However, your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of Freddie Gray.”
Suddenly this young prosecutor who had served barely 100 days in office had become a national figure. “I was on CNN, and we were all assured that it would be a routine press conference,” says Marc Lamont Hill, a political commentator and professor of African-American studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta. “Instead, Mosby came out swinging for the fences. I was in shock.” Her statements gripped a country embroiled in a debate about race and police misconduct, and energized those who believed that officers were not being held accountable. Selma director Ava DuVernay tweeted that she wanted make a documentary about Mosby. The U.S. congressman for Maryland Elijah Cummings, a central figure in the Baltimore protests, told the cameras, “Thank God [for] Marilyn Mosby and her team.”
“It was a powerful act that allowed the city to begin healing,” says Hill. “Within an hour of that announcement, the entire black community was laying claim to her—ready to saint her because she did her job.”
The article also gives an in-depth look at Mrs. Mosby’s back story, including her family life and early childhood.
If anyone is qualified to comment on issues of race, urban violence, and policing, it is Marilyn Mosby. Born to an unmarried high school junior in the gritty Dorchester neighborhood of south Boston, she was raised alongside her younger brother and sister in a house full of cops: Her grandfather was on the force, as was her mother, as was her uncle next door. “It gives me perspective,” she says. “I know the majority of police officers are outstanding, dedicated, loyal public servants, just like my family.” The house she grew up in, nicknamed the Police House, was a boisterous place, where Marilyn’s grandparents would host competitive karaoke nights around the family pool.
Landing in the pages of Vogue simply for being a young, intelligent, fearless Black woman of power is certainly a tremendous accomplishment for Mrs. Mosby, and we get the feeling that she’s only just getting started.
You can read the entire Vogue story on Marilyn Mosby HERE.
Image Credits: Annie Leibovitz/Vogue