A major conflict of interest has arisen in State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s already highly problematic investigation into the death of Freddie Gray.
Avon Mackel, one of Team Mosby’s top investigators, reportedly has a checkered past as a former high-ranking officer with the Baltimore Police Department.
According to CNN, Mackel was stripped of his command in 2009 for “failing to follow through on a robbery investigation that two of his officers mishandled and did not report”:
A Baltimore Sun report said police in the district were accused of classifying serious crimes as lesser in order to log lower crime rates.
In October 2009, four months after his demotion, Baltimore County police sent a SWAT team to Mackel’s home, responding a drunken incident in which he was seen holding a gun, according to a police report of the incident obtained by CNN.
Officers said an intoxicated Mackel refused to cooperate and was visibly upset, according to the report provided in response to a public records request. An officer then “observed the barrel of Mackel’s handgun hanging over the edge of the molding at the top of the steps and saw Mackel pull the gun out of sight,” the report said.
Police used a Taser on Mackel while he was on the phone with his father “crying and yelling,” before he barricaded himself in his bedroom. The report doesn’t say how the incident ended, but police said there was no arrest. A spokesman for the Baltimore County Police Department said “the [SWAT] tactical unit did assist with this incident, which ended peacefully.”
CNN reports that Mackel didn’t respond to calls and emails seeking comment.
Needless to say, the optics here are terrible for the prosecution. The possibility that one of Mosby’s lead attorneys might “have it in” for the Baltimore Police Department presents opportunities for defense attorneys seeking out weakness in Mosby’s case.