Mary Moriarty Misses The PointMary Moriarty Misses The Point

Zaria McKeever, a 23-year-old mother of a one-year-old, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend Erick Haynes after a prolonged period of stalking and harassment. This case is a clear-cut example of domestic violence, where he made a deliberate plan to murder her out of jealousy and hatred of women. This murder of a Black woman will not be seen as a hate crime by the left, or anyone else.

Mary Moriarty, the Hennepin County Attorney, got into office on an uninspired, but necessary, call for reform to the criminal justice system. The Minneapolis establishment has effectively silenced the activists calling for the abolishment of prisons and police by turning to reform politics in the likes of Moriarty. Moriarty took advantage of an unprecedented protest movement that began in Minneapolis. The entire world was moved to action following the murder of George Floyd.

Moriarty represents the alienation of the professional-managerial class from the working class. Police, like lawyers, are managers and professionals who attempt to control the working class through their work. Law, just like prisons and police, must be abolished. It is clear that there is no consistency for Moriarty and that she doesn’t care about radical politics or Black women.

McKeever’s case hit the press after Minnesota Governor Tim Walz agreed to let Attorney General Keith Ellison take over the case. Moriarty surprisingly advocated for no prison for the two minors (17 and 15) who carried out Zaria’s murder in a sophisticated plot. Ellison, a long-time ally of Moriarty’s in the reformist wing of the Democratic Party, is accused by Moriarty of going against democracy because her district elected her to go soft on crime. Her record tells a different story.

It’s plain as day on her Twitter feed.

April 5th: Moriarty brags about 36 years in prison for murder by a Black man.

March 28th: 41 years in prison for murder. By who? A Black man. Moriarty gloats: “Partnering with law enforcement to hold drug dealers and those who commit violent crime accountable is one of my top priorities. “

March 22nd: increase funding (not abolish!) for prosecutors to better fight violent crime.

March 21st: Mary says: “We have a public health crisis in our neighborhoods because of the fentanyl flooding the streets. We will not rest in our efforts to bring to justice those who seek to destroy our communities with these deadly drugs.” Harsh sentences for drug dealers, according to Fox News.

Let’s keep going. A January 26th murder Mary says: “But aggressive prosecution of violent crime is a critical part of a comprehensive response to violence. This office will continue to work with law enforcement to aggressively prosecute violence and hold those responsible accountable.” “And “To the Minneapolis Police Department officers, investigators, analysts, and others who played a role -this was great police work and effective investigation. I’m thankful for the partnership.” And also, something she dismissed for the murder of Zaria, a nod to vengeance and healing: “Nothing will bring Deshaun back, but I hope the verdict is one step forward on the path toward healing for Deshaun’s family and all who were impacted by this tragedy.”

38.5 years for this murder.

Mary continues to throw the book in a few months as a prosecutor.

Mother of the child gets life in prison.

450 months for murder.

291 months.

She goes after a cell phone robbery ring. Moriarty sees crime as a threat to commerce in downtown.

Second-degree riot against street racing.

18-year-old (not 17) charged with murder.

Mary has been busy. Except when it comes to prosecuting police. Moriarty released the typical line around the murder of Tyre Nichols in Memphis but crickets were heard when it came to the Minneapolis police response to protests of it:

Moriarty was silent when the “defund” Minneapolis City Council further criminalized dissent:

Such calls to abolish police and prisons are now in the hands of professionals like Moriarty who use word salads to obscure movement politics. Moriarty opportunistically turns away from the politics of abolishing police and prisons towards a liberal framework in her press conference following Ellison’s takeover. She doesn’t explain to Zaria’s family why getting rid of incarceration will benefit society. Instead, she gets defensive, accusing the grieving family of vengeance.

It frankly was painful to see Moriarty stumbling through her press conference in front of the victim’s family. Moriarty is right about the Republican attack on democracy. She’s right about the Democrat attack on democracy. She is right that far too many people have been sent to jail by both parties. She is right that both parties send too many youth to jail.

But she didn’t explain why we should be opposed to sending anyone to jail. It is not because of how much everyone likes Mary. It’s not because people elected you to do it. Because you aren’t doing it. Mary, you’re a prosecutor. That’s no better than being a police officer. You say you support incarceration in this press conference. You don’t talk about abolishing it.

The Star Tribune reports on secrecy, not transparency, by Moriarty:

“Moriarty scheduled the news conference immediately following a court hearing for the younger boy, who is accused of firing the fatal shots. She declined to answer repeated questions about whether an adult certification study determined the teen should be prosecuted in adult court, as the family said is the case. Moriarty said she could not say because such information is confidential due to his age.”

Moriarty brags about sending people to prison, accountability and public safety. She uses buzzwords like rehabilitation and democracy to condescend to the audience. For some reason she makes it seem like she does send people to prison, just not people who participate in a planned murder of Black women. She emphasizes the specifics of the case, rather than the more general need to abolish the prisons and police.

The case for abolishing prisons and police isn’t so we can make our streets safer. It isn’t so when people get out of prison they are less likely to commit a crime. The implication of having no laws is that it creates an opening for the oppressed. This opening will allow of a transformation into a socialist democratic society. We abolish these things because the law is always conservative. And Mary you are the law.

Citing bourgeois democracy as a justification to grandstand over a murdered woman’s family just isn’t the right way to talk to people. Stop pulling out your studies. Stop talking about all your judges and experts who operate in secrecy and know what is best for the community.

Moriarty rewards the younger perpetrators for snitching on the older ones. Shouldn’t that get rid of her street credibility? She uses the liberal standby of “science” to tell the victim’s love ones that pulling the trigger doesn’t change the ability of the system to rehabilitate this person.

She is confused when the working class switches over from science to her expertise (law). She clumsily gives cliches. But this is not the time or place. It doesn’t seem like the victim’s family is asking the white lady for vengeance, but more for fairness. If Moriarty could explain the new day in Minneapolis where law and order is gone, I’m sure the working class would sign up for it.

But she accuses the family members, now tasked with raising a one-year-old, of punishing kids. She is asked whether her children would feel safe around the murderers. She can’t answer because obviously children of a white woman lawyer still do have law and order, they still do have class protection.

This is the contradiction she can’t square. If she is there to selectively enforce principles she can pick and choose whose lives matter.

Under Biden, Ellison, and Moriarty nothing has changed. There are more police. More studies to show how they are being reformed and being taught anti-racism. These people prop up and apologize for this system. The language of activists is only used when they are in political trouble.

I remember meeting Moriarty with my friend John Helmeke and he pressed her with radical politics when it came to policing. She dismissed his example of Chesa Boudin as a model for dealing with crime. She isn’t radical. She’s created confusion and pain for the community. The left will continue to fail with the working class until we have clear politics.

Puffing up law and order credentials while letting more Black women die is not the way to go. A serious revolution won’t come from people invested in the system like Moriarty. Nobody should be in prison as we know it. Not any of the people involved in the murder of Zaria McKeever. Not anyone.

But you can’t just decide one day to use these principles in one case and not the rest of them. It’s not fair and it’s not right. You have to empower and listen to those building alternatives. You can’t expect the communities of those murdered to just blindly sign up for your utopia you refuse to build from the ground up.

Moriarty comparing Keith Ellison’s one-time intervention in this case to Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis seems disingenuous to me. I have my criticisms of Ellison too but it’s clear that he was responding to the people who elected him and Moriarty just refused to.

The murders of Black and Native women get dismissed by the powers that be. The Guardian reports: “For nearly half of the killings of Black women and girls in 2020, the FBI’s supplementary homicide report lists the relationship between the victim and the person who killed her as “unknown”.” Moriarty has no trouble sending Black men to prison. Except, of course, when a Black woman is a victim.

See the press conference:

And GoFundMe for Zaria McKeever:

Twin Cities mutual aid:

Hennepin Attorney website:

Nick Pemberton writes and works from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He loves to receive feedback at