Prince George’s County could have a new lead prosecutor next year and at least two people have already put their hats in the ring.
Although the primary election is a year away, former Del. Aisha Braveboy and Mike Lyles, executive director for the county’s Human Relations Commission, want to get an early start.
Whoever’s elected may replace Angela Alsobrooks, the first woman elected to the office who may pursue the county executive position currently held by Rushern L. Baker III. His four-year term expires next year and he’s expressed interest in the governor’s seat. Neither has made a formal decision.
The county’s state’s attorney office assists the police department and other law enforcement agencies to prosecute, research and oversee various cases annually.
The office has dealt with several high-profile cases in the past year, including the May 20 fatal stabbing of black Bowie State University student Richard Collins III. The suspect is a white University of Maryland student.
Braveboy, who served as a delegate in Annapolis from 2007 to 2015, said she would prosecute the case as a hate crime if the evidence and facts warrant that decision.
“We cannot tolerate hate [and] discrimination in our community,” said Braveboy, 42, who works as a manager of government affairs for the Children’s National Health System in Northwest. “If we have crimes that are motivated by hate, then we need to call it as such and prosecute it as such.”
Lyles, a former chairman of the Bowie State board of visitors that serves as an advisory group to the school’s president, released a statement May 23 on the Collins tragedy.
“Perpetrators must be dealt with swiftly and firmly — with appropriate consideration if mental health is a factor — and law enforcement must have the proper resources to protect and serve as much as possible,” he said. “We will do everything in our power to ensure his life was not taken in vain and Prince George’s County does not become a safe harbor for such violent acts.”
As for Braveboy and Lyles, both want to aggressively prosecute career criminals, target companies who scam seniors for their finances and combat domestic violence, which the county has led statewide in domestic homicides.
Braveboy said, if elected, she would incorporate a robust data system to track trends of whether more robberies are being committed, or automobile thefts in a particular neighborhood.
“We can’t tolerate criminal behavior in our community, but it is not just about locking people up,” Braveboy said. “A smart prosecutor would focus on safety and would look at crime holistically and not just prosecuting based on numbers.”
Lyles, who didn’t respond to requests for comment, said on his campaign website that one of his priorities would be a push to end the county seeking state approval to fund criminal prosecutions.
“This is an outdated intrusion into county affairs and must end if we truly are going to make Prince George’s County the safest in Maryland,” Lyles wrote. “This system must be addressed immediately and I will work to end it for the benefit of us all.”