Freddie Gray Death: Six Baltimore Officers Indicted, Face Serious Charges
On Thursday, six officers were charged with the death of Freddie Gray, who had died from injuries sustained while he was in police custody. The development saw the state’s attorney pressing serious charges despite being criticized that she was part of an “overzealous protection.”
The indictments arrayed from second-degree “depraved heart” murder to assault. Although some of these charges remained similar to what Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby had announced three weeks ago, some of the charges changed.
According to The Guardian, she said, “Additional information has been discovered and, as is often the case during an ongoing investigation, charges can and should be revised based on the evidence.”
Caesar Goodson, driver of the van, has been charged with manslaughter, second-degree “depraved heart” murder, misconduct in office and second-degree assault. Sgt. Alicia White, Lt. Brian Rice and Officer William Porter have been charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office. The officers will also be imposed with reckless-endangerment charges, as reported by Yahoo News.
Reckless endangerment, which all of the six officers have been charged with, is defined in Maryland law as “engaging in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another.”
The charges against the three officers involved in the initial arrest of Gray on April 12 were reduced. Mosby said that Rice and Officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller will not be charged with false imprisonment anymore. However, they have been charged with illegal arrest and face one count of second-degree murder.
Court documents reveal that Gray’s arrest came after he made eye contact with a police officer and fled the scene, only to be apprehended two blocks away. He was arrested in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of West Baltimore for possession of a knife that, according to charging documents written by Miller, was illegal under a city ordinance.
However, Mosby said that carrying a knife was not unlawful under state law.
Officers also violated police policy by not securing Gray’s seat belt once he was taken in the van. During a second stop made by Goodson, Gray was shackled in leg irons because he was “irate,” according to the police.
The van eventually arrived at Western District police station. Gray was non-responsive upon arrival.
In a statement, Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police President Gene Ryan said, “All citizens are innocent until proven guilty, including these six officers.”
According to CNN, Ivan Bates, Sgt. Alicia White’s lawyer, said, “I look forward to trying this case against Marilyn Mosby herself and proving Alicia White is innocent.”
White faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, assault, misconduct and reckless endangerment.
Gray’s death gave rise to a civil rights investigation of the police brutality – in addition to using excessive force and making unlawful arrests – practiced by Baltimore Police Department against African-American individuals.
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