Victims’ families and residents gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center Wednesday to share how Mary Moriarty’s progressive approach to prosecuting has “retraumatized” them and their families.
“We’re here to support families who have been retraumatized by the plea deals that they have had no say in and do not reflect the loss of life and serious injury caused to others,” said Julie Wicklund, who helped organize the rally.
Moriarty’s charging decisions have come under intense public scrutiny during her first nine months as the top prosecutor for Minnesota’s most populous county, a position she ran for after the retirement of longtime county attorney Mike Freeman. Before running for office, Moriarty spent most of her career working for “the other team” as a public defender, eventually rising to the rank of chief public defender.
Paul Greer, the stepfather of Zaria McKeever, spoke at Wednesday’s rally, urging residents to “know what you’re voting for.”
“Stay informed. Be educated because [Moriarty’s] time will come around again and if you don’t like what’s going on in her office, then we can stand up and do something about it. But we can’t wait until then to do it. We’ve got to start now because our loved one’s lives depend on it,” Greer said.
Attorney General Keith Ellison took over prosecution of McKeever’s case earlier this year following public outrage with Moriarty’s decision to offer plea deals to the juveniles who allegedly killed her.
“We were fortunate because we were able to have the AG take our case. Unfortunately, it’s not something that happens very often. I’m here today to stand in solidarity with others who are experiencing the same things that were handed from the county attorney,” Greer said.
“We are raising our two-year-old granddaughter who was left behind. One day we’re going to have to explain to her why she doesn’t have a mother or father.”
Steve Markey’s relatives were also in attendance and spoke at the event. Markey was murdered in 2019, when Minneapolis “was still safe,” his cousin said, expressing sadness at the “giant line of victims” waiting to speak at the rally. One of the suspects in Markey’s murder, who was a juvenile at the time, has been offered probation by Moriarty’s office.
“Sometimes the Joker runs for office and she gets elected. The normalization of ultra violence amongst young people is not only sinister, it is morally criminal. She’s doing this under the auspices of eliminating mass incarceration. However, all of us will now be inhabiting the open air prison,” said Markey’s brother, Brian.
The brother of Steve Markey, who was murdered in 2019, refers to Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty as "The Joker": "The normalization of ultra violence amongst young people is not only sinister, it is morally criminal." pic.twitter.com/bAH7QHm9AD
— Alpha News (@AlphaNewsMN) October 11, 2023
Pearll Warren, the cousin of Antonio Moore, said her family wasn’t notified about a plea deal until hours before a court hearing.
“County Attorney Mary Moriarty stated that she was going to ensure charges were pressed to the full extent of the law,” Warren said.
Moore was stabbed to death in May of this year. His killer could receive a sentence of 48 months under a plea deal, according to reports. In Minnesota, offenders are only required to serve two-thirds of their sentence behind bars.
“Two-and-a-half years is not even enough time for our community service agencies to lift the chins and wipe the tears and fill in the gaps for the victims and their families that have been left abandoned by murder,” Warren said.
She later suggested that residents should start gathering signatures to start a recall of Moriarty.
“We’re not asking for justice; we’re asking for results. We don’t want any blind adjudicated decisions made on our behalf,” she said. “We want you to be able to see the wrong that is happening out here and do not loose these individuals back on the streets.”
Moriarty’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.