The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office hosted its first annual Winter Solstice benefiting victims and witnesses of crime on December 3, 2015. More than 250 individuals attended the event, raising a total of $31,350.
Baltimore native and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith donated $10,000 to the fund.
In addition to raising money for the Victims Emergency Fund, the State’s Attorney’s Office also used the event to honor members of both the community and the office who have shown an extraordinary commitment to improving public safety in Baltimore City. The honorees included Sergeant Keith McNeill, a Baltimore Police Officer who was shot earlier this year. Sergeant McNeill received the Craig Chandler Heroism Award, a new award named in honor of Officer Chandler who lost his life in the line of duty in January.
Baltimore City Sheriff John Anderson received the Shield Award for his outstanding commitment to public safety. Reverend Alvin Gwynn Sr. of Friendship Baptist Church was awarded the Purpose in Spirit Award for his continued efforts to uplift communities across the City. Keith Haynes, Maryland Delegate for the 44th District, received the Legislator Leadership Award in recognition of his continued work to address the systematic changes within the criminal justice system. The Unsung Hero Award was awarded posthumously to the late Gloria Hertzfelt, a community advocate who made a number of grassroots strides in the Greektown Community. Mrs. Hertzfelt passed away on November 9, 2015.
The success of the State’s Attorney’s Office could not be achieved without the dedicated Assistant State’s Attorneys and support staff who work tirelessly to obtain justice for victims and witnesses of crime. This year, the Mark Cohen Award, given to an outstanding felony prosecutor who prosecutes challenging cases in pursuit of justice by devoting time and energy in and out of the courtroom, was presented to Angela Diehl. The Alex Yankelove Award, given to a prosecutor in District Court, Misdemeanor, or Juvenile who has demonstrated that he or she is a rising star in the legal community, was presented to Wes Corning. The Patsy Price Award, given to a support staff member that goes above and beyond to make sure that attorneys are prepared for anything, was presented to Shannon Green.
“Last week’s successful event raised much needed funds for the victims and witnesses that play a critical role in helping us get criminals off our streets. It also was an opportunity for us to reflect upon and honor others that have made tremendous contributions to the crime fight in Baltimore City,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
All of the proceeds from the event benefit the office’s Victims Emergency Fund. The fund provides emergency funding for victims of crime in Baltimore City to secure their homes after a break-in, replace critical stolen items such as medication or identification and more. The fund fills a gap in state funding for victims in the immediate aftermath of a crime before charges have been filed. Last year, the fund provided 88 victims of crime with more than $9,000 in assistance. -BSAO