Last week we expressed our concern that the state attorney for Baltimore, Marilyn J. Mosby, seemed to be playing to the mostly African-American demonstrators and rioters when, in announcing charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, she recited the slogan of those who claim systemic anti-black abuse by police: “To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America,” she said, “I heard your call for No Justice, No Peace.”
But as we noted, Ms. Mosby is black, Baltimore’s mayor is black, the city’s police commissioner is black, and three out of the six charged police officers are black. As we wrote, everyone “would have been better served had [Ms. Mosby] cut out the rhetoric and hyperbole and limited her remarks to matter-of-factly assuring all Baltimoreans of her determination to seek justice.”
A few days later, our concern deepened. Despite the racial breakdown of those involved in the tragic episode and its aftermath, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the Justice Department had opened an investigation into whether the Baltimore Police Department engages in systematic discrimination, civil rights violations, and excessive use of force.
To be sure, the investigation was requested by Baltimore’s mayor, but the attorney general said it would be a “collaborative reform process” and added that she was certain federal and city officials could work together to create a “stronger better Baltimore.”
Given the circumstances, the incongruity is manifest. Not only did the attorney general make an illogical leap to find a racial component in the death of Mr. Gray, she also seemed to have been primed to push for reforms even before the investigation was started.
It’s troubling enough when a local politician plays to the mob. When the attorney general of the United States does so, it’s nothing less than incendiary.