The mother of Baltimore city state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby faced numerous disciplinary actions during her 20-year career as a Boston police officer, though the public wouldn’t know it based on the Freddie Gray case prosecutor’s public statements touting her family’s strong policing history.
The 35-year-old Mosby has used her family’s police ties to rebut critics who say she rushed to judgement and overcharged the six cops involved in Gray’s April 12 arrest. The 25-year-old Gray died a week later, touching off rioting in Baltimore and nationwide protests.
“Law enforcement is pretty much instilled within my being,” Mosby told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on May 1, the day she publicly announced charges against the officers. “I come from five generations of police officers,” she added, pointing out that her mother, father, grandfather and uncles have all served as cops.
But there’s more to the story than Mosby has let on.
Personnel records obtained by The Daily Caller show that Mosby’s mother, Linda Thompson, first violated the Boston police department’s substance abuse policy in 2006. After serving a 45-day rehab stint, Thompson violated the drug code again and voluntarily resigned on Feb. 1, 2008, rather than be fired.
The early retirement allowed Thompson, now 52, to draw a $1,810.69 monthly pension.
Thompson is not the only member of Mosby’s family to have had a rocky policing career. Mosby’s father was fired from the Boston police department in 1991 following accusations that he and his partner robbed drug dealers at gun point. Mosby’s uncle was fired from Boston PD in 2001 after testing positive for cocaine. Her grandfather was a well-respected Boston cop, but he ultimately and unsuccessfully sued the department for racial discrimination in the 1980s.
Mosby has not publicly mentioned any of that during her speeches when running for Baltimore state’s attorney or since taking on the Gray case.
“A majority of police officers are risking their lives day-in and day-out,” Mosby told Hayes during her interview. “Recognizing that, because that’s what my family did, I also recognize that there are those individuals that usurp their authority who will… go past the public trust.”
“When they do that, you have to hold those individuals accountable,” Mosby added.
Mosby’s claims are disingenuous, say three retired Boston police officers interviewed by TheDC.
“Linda Thompson’s daughter is lecturing police officers about the right thing to do? You’ve got to be kidding me,” said one former cop who reached the highest levels of the Boston police department and has known Thompson since the beginning of her career.
The retired officer, who asked not to be named, said that Mosby’s message has been, “You can trust me, I come from a family of cops.”
Mosby has proved a polarizing figure so far in the Gray case. Elected to office last year, she became a national star to many after her public announcement of charges against the cops. But her many critics say her case is flimsy and that she charged the officers for political reasons.
The prosecution’s theory seems to be that the officers did not do enough to restrain Gray in the back of a police van after his April 12 arrest. Some of the six officers also failed to provide proper medical attention, Mosby has claimed.
Gray’s April 19 death was ruled a homicide due to “an act of omission.” Mosby charged the driver of Gray’s police van with second-degree depraved heart murder and manslaughter. Three other cops face manslaughter charges.
Mosby has also been heavily criticized for using activist rhetoric when publicly discussing the case. During her May 1 speech she said that she heard protesters’ battle-cry of “no justice, no peace.” Days before that speech – and before the medical examiner’s office had even determined Gray’s cause of death – she told a group of local clergy members that she was going to seek justice for Gray “by any and all means necessary.”
The public got an apparent glimpse of Mosby’s sentiment towards the cops when she “favorited” two controversial tweets on May 6. One tweet called the officers “thugs” and another asserted that the young prosecutor “INFURIATES a certain kind of white person.” Mosby denied favoriting the tweets, saying that her account was hacked. However, her personal account showed no other evidence of being infiltrated.
Mosby’s public comments reminded one retired Boston detective of something her mom did in the 18th district police house on Oct. 3, 1995.
That was the day a California jury found O.J. Simpson not guilty of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.
The detective, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told TheDC that when the bombshell decision was announced, an ecstatic Linda Thompson jumped up on the desk of another officer and began “doing a victory dance.”
The retired detective said he was bothered by the display but felt he couldn’t do anything about it. Thompson did not respond to a phone message and several emails sent over the past three weeks seeking comment about the incident.
Thompson’s former colleague gave other insight into her work in the 18th district, which encompasses Boston’s Hyde Park.
“This is a woman we carried because half of the time she was on drugs, she was high,” the former cop told TheDC in a phone interview.
“Everybody knew it, but nobody wanted to say anything,” he added. “She did nothing. All she did was put in the hours.”
Thompson officially became a Boston police officer in April 1987. She followed in the footsteps of her father, Prescott Thompson, who helped start Boston’s first black policeman’s organization.
Even as a police recruit, Linda Thompson faced disciplinary action. Her personnel file shows she was suspended for one day in Jan. 1987. After becoming a full-time cop, Thompson was suspended again for one day on Dec. 7, 1989, for failure to report for duty. She was suspended for another day on Oct. 29, 1991, for refusing directives and orders.
Thompson was suspended for 10 days on Feb. 5, 1993. That decision was made following a hearing held Dec. 31, 1991, which was sparked by an internal affairs investigation started in July 1990. Evidence was submitted which established that Thompson violated security rules and rules governing the care and maintenance of department firearms. In 1995, the department revised Thompson’s punishment and awarded her five days of back pay.
On Nov. 13, 1995, just weeks after the alleged Simpson verdict scene, Thompson was cited for failure to report for duty and was suspended for one day. She was suspended again for one day on May 28, 1996, for neglect of duty and for failure to report damage to an assigned vehicle. On Sept. 26, 2003, Thompson was suspended for five days for using profane language towards a superior and for refusing to leave a restricted area.
Thompson’s first documented drug violation came on Dec. 5, 2006, according to her personnel file. Records show she agreed to a settlement for violating the department’s substance abuse policy. As part of the settlement, Thompson accepted a 45-day suspension.
Thompson, now the director of a Christian dance school in North Carolina, violated the department’s substance abuse policy again, according to the three retired officers. None had direct knowledge of the department’s internal investigation but said that Thompson’s second foul was known all throughout the department.
Last month, TheDC reported that in 1989, Mosby’s father, Alan James, was arrested and charged with assault and battery along with another officer for their role in the armed robberies of local drug dealers. James and his partner allegedly flashed their badges and pulled out their guns. During one heist, one of the officers’ weapons discharged, though nobody was hurt. James was acquitted of charges in 1991 but was fired by the Boston police department immediately after.
Mosby’s grandfather, Prescott Thompson, was by all accounts a distinguished police officer. But he eventually filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the department. He was forced to resign the force in 1976 because he lost his right eye five years before and could no longer work. When he tried to come back on the job in 1986, he was denied. After that, he filed the suit, which eventually went nowhere.
Mosby’s uncle, Richard Miller, was successful in his 1981 racial discrimination lawsuit against the Massachusetts state police. He was a awarded a judgement of more than $200,000.
TheDC found that another Mosby uncle, Preston Thompson, was fired from the Boston police force after testing positive for cocaine in 2001. That was Thompson’s first positive test for drugs, and he could have remained on the force, which has a two-strikes policy, had he entered the same 45-day drug rehab program Linda Thompson entered. But he refused to do so and was fired. He reportedly draws disability pay.
Mosby’s office did not respond to a request for comment. The trial against the six Baltimore officers is scheduled to begin in October. Defense attorneys for the accused have filed motions calling for Mosby to recuse herself from the case. So far, she has declined to do so.