Ivan Bates, the Democratic nominee for Baltimore state’s attorney, said on Monday that he was putting violent, repeat offenders on notice, declaring that “you will be held accountable, and you will go to jail.”
Speaking to reporters at his campaign headquarters at the Hilltop Shopping Center in Woodmere, Bates said the role of the chief law enforcement officer is to keep everyone safe. He said there will be “certainty of consequences.”
At the same time, Bates said, he was not planning to go back to the days of mass incarceration. Instead, he said, “there will be accountability at all levels” — including for himself.
“At the end of the day, we will get this together,” Bates said. “We will have a safer city.”
Bates, 53, of Locust Point, the founder and managing partner of Bates & Garcia, P.C., defeated two other candidates in the Democratic primary: State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, the two-term incumbent, and Thiru Vignarajah, the CEO of Capital Plus Financial and a former city, state and federal prosecutor.
As of Monday morning, Bates had 30,486 votes (40.4%), followed by Vignarajah with 23,081 votes (30.59%) and Mosby with 21,891 votes (29.01%), according to unofficial election results from the Maryland State Board of Elections. The Associated Press called the race for Bates at about 7 p.m. on Friday.
He will now face Roya Hanna, an independent candidate who’s a defense attorney at the Law Office of Roya Hanna LLC, on Election Day.
If elected, Bates said his office will pursue offenses for illegal firearms possession that carry five-year mandatory minimum sentences. Assistant state’s attorneys, he said, will take cases to trial and win.
He said he will also rescind Mosby’s policy of not prosecuting certain low-level, nonviolent offenses, including drug possession, prostitution and trespassing.
Bates also spoke about how he believes in collaborative working relationships.
“Right now, Baltimore, we’re in silos. We’re fighting. But we’re not fighting together,” he said. “We fight together, we can win together.”
Three current and former elected officials introduced him at the news conference. Several others — such as Comptroller Bill Henry, Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer and state Sen. Cory McCray, D-Baltimore — stood by his side.
Bates’ father, Henry Bates Jr., was also in attendance.
Councilman Zeke Cohen said the people of Baltimore “breathed a collective sigh of relief” when they learned that Bates was poised to become the next state’s attorney.
Bates, he said, has the ability to transform the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office into one that’s not only functional but effective. He’s built a broad coalition of support, Cohen said.
“We know that Ivan is going to make sure that folks who commit acts of violence in our city are no longer on our streets,” Cohen said. “We know that far too often, we’ve seen the same people terrorizing our communities, and then right back out the next day to do that again.”
Next, former State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein, who served from 2011-2015, said Bates understands the importance of collaborating with other law enforcement partners and possesses a sense of urgency to reduce crime.
Bernstein, though, said intractable problems won’t be solved overnight. He urged people to be patient.
Former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who served from 2007-2010, said she was initially reluctant to support Bates or become involved in any election.
Dixon resigned as part of a plea agreement for perjury after a jury found her guilty of embezzling about $500 worth of gift cards meant for families in need.
Bates, she said, understands the role and the need to work with people across the city. He’s going to put together a talented, professional team, Dixon said.
“He’s a human being,” Dixon said, “so he’s not going to be this superhero.”
But Bates, she said, is going to be a humble leader who balances the position with taking care of his family — “so they can go into a city that I know can be a safe city.”