6 Baltimore Cops Charged in Death of Freddie Gray

Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced on Friday that the death of Freddie Gray has been ruled a homicide, and that six police officers have been charged to varying degrees for their involvement in his death.

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In a press conference, she said:

I assured his family that no one is above the law and that I would pursue justice on their behalf ... We knew that this was a serious case. From day one, we investigated. We're not just relying solely on what we were given by the police department ... I heard your call for 'no justice, no peace.' Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man.

She stated that Gray was wrongly arrested on April 12, by Officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller, who alleged that he was in possession of an illegal switchblade. He did have a folding knife in his pocket, but it was later determined not to be a switchblade, and perfectly legal. Nero and Miller had been called in as backup, after Gray "made eye contact" with Lieutenant Brian Rice, and ran.

When he was held face-down on the road, he said he was having trouble breathing, and asked for his inhaler. He was not helped. Instead, he was placed in the back of a police wagon without a seat belt or restraints, which is a violation of policy. The van made several stops before getting him to booking, and all of his pleas for medical attention were ignored.

At the first stop, Gray was removed and flex cuffs were put on his wrists, and his ankles were shackled. He was put back in the police wagon, still without restraints. Rice told Officer Goodson to take him to Central Booking and Intake Facility.

Mosby said, "Following transport from Baker Street, Gray suffered a severe neck injury as a result of being handcuffed and unrestrained inside wagon." The vehicle made a couple of stops in order to check on Gray, who had hit his head on a protruding bolt at some point, causing severe spinal injury.

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Officer William Porter and Goodson apparently determined that he didn't need medical attention, and didn't call for it. Goodson then got a call to transport another prisoner in an unrelated arrest, and in what Mosby called a "grossly negligent matter," he chose to respond to that call instead of continuing to booking.

At that scene, Sgt. Alicia White witnessed Gray in the back of the van, but by this time he was unresponsive. Even though she talked to him and he didn't respond, she still didn't call for medical attention. By the time they reached the Western District police station, he wasn't breathing and in cardiac arrest. He died a week later from his injuries.

The six cops involved have been charged to varying degrees from second-degree murder, manslaughter, assault, misconduct, and false imprisonment.

How absolutely tragic, and while I'm usually one screaming that people shouldn't run from the police, who could blame this young man for doing so, if he knew they were capable of this kind of criminal behavior?

I still believe the riots in Baltimore are wrong, as two wrongs do not make a right, but I understand the community's anger and frustration. I hope that the officers involved are charged to the full extent of the law, and made an example so that other law enforcement agents get the clear picture that they are not above the law.

Do you think these cops should be made an example of?

 

Image via Win McNamee/Staff/Getty Images

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