[guest post by Dana]
Six police officers have been charged in the death of Freddie Gray:
Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., 45, who was the driver of a police van that carried Gray through the streets of Baltimore, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault, two vehicular manslaughter charges and misconduct in office.
Officer William Porter, 25, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Lt. Brian Rice, 41, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Sgt. Alicia White, 30, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Officer Edward Nero, 29, was charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Officer Garrett Miller, 26, was charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
If convicted of all charges, Goodson would face up to 63 years in prison, Rice would face up to 30 years and Porter, Nero, Miller and White would face up to 20 years.
During her announcement of the charges being levied against the six officers, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby added:
To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America, 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, those that are angry or hurt or have their own experience of injustice.
Upon receiving news of the charges against the officers, President Obama stated it is “absolutely vital that the truth comes out”.
“[I] think the people of Baltimore want more than anything else is the truth,” he said. “That’s what people around the country expect.”
He also called for protests to be peaceful. Baltimore has been relatively calm since riots on Monday.
“I hope that approach to non-violent protest and community engagement continues,” Obama said.
In addition to the president’s reaction, the police union claimed that the officers did nothing wrong and charges brought against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray are driven by “the publicity in this case” and “politics” :
“we are disappointed in the apparent rush to judgement, given the fact the investigation into this matter has not been concluded. Our officers, like every other American citizen, are entitled to due process. We will continue to support them throughout this judicial process, which we believe will result in a finding of innocence. We also promise all active duty officers that we will continue to work diligently to ensure that you will receive the necessary support from the FOP to enable you to complete your mission safely.” He also argued that “this decision to charge [these] officers is going to make our job even harder.”
Michael Davey, an Attorney with the Fraternal Order of Police stated,
“in my 20 years — career as a law enforcement officer, and 16 years as an attorney, I have never seen such a hurried rush to file criminal charges, which I believe are driven by forces which are separate and apart from the application of law, and the facts of this case as we know them. No one condones police misconduct. This is especially true of the entire FOP membership, including my client, who was a 17-year veteran of this department, who has dedicated his life to serving the public. Let me state in no uncertain terms that Lt. Rice and all of the officers involved at all times acted reasonably, and in accordance with their training as Baltimore police officers. No officer injured Mr. Gray, caused harm to Mr. Gray, and they are truly saddened by his death. These officers did nothing wrong. As all of the facts surrounding this case come out in the appropriate forum, the officers’ lack of wrongdoing will be made abundantly clear. We believe that the actions taken today by the state’s attorney are an egregious rush to judgment, and we have grave concerns about the fairness [and] integrity of the prosecution of our officers. Let me reiterate two things, Lt. Rice and all of the officers are deeply affected by Mr. Gray’s passing, and that his injuries did not occur as a result of any action or inaction on the part of these officers. It is our intention to try this case in the courtroom, and not the media. These statements have been made in an effort to protect all of the officers from undue prejudicial effective publicity surrounding this case. We believe that these officers will be vindicated, as they have done nothing wrong.” Later, he said, “I can’t speculate as to what they did or didn’t do. I just find it very difficult that it’s not a rush to judgement when conducting a case in which someone has been charged with second degree murder they can wrap it up in two weeks.”
And finally, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is being called on by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3 to recuse herself due to a conflict of interest: she has a personal connection to the Gray family’s attorney and she is married to a Baltimore councilman.
The lodge is also requesting a Special Independent Prosecutor be assigned to the case.
ADDED: Some reactions to the charges:
GOT EM!! SIX OFFICERS CHARGED IN #BALTIMORE @cnnbrk #BlackLivesMatter #cut50
Take a moment to realize that media/national attention wouldn’t be on #Baltimore and #FreddieGray were it NOT for riots. Shame on us.
Marilyn Mosby just shook up the world. #FreddieGray
#FreddieGray death officially ruled a homicide. Meaning police murdered him. Stay awake