DOJ won't bring charges against officers in Freddie Gray case
BALTIMORE (AP) —
The U.S. Department of Justice won't bring federal charges against six police officers involved in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, a young black man whose death touched off weeks of protests and unrest in Baltimore.
The officers were charged by state prosecutors after Gray's neck was broken in the back of a police transport wagon in April of 2015. The 25-year-old was handcuffed and shackled at the time, but he was unrestrained by a seat belt.
Three officers were acquitted at trial. Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped the remaining state cases.
The Gray family's attorney, Billy Murphy, says the Justice Department informed him on Tuesday that no charges would be filed. He told FOX45's Investigative Team that he will make remarks Wednesday.
The Department of Justice issued a statement later Tuesday confirming that it will decline to prosecute the officers.
"After an extensive review of this tragic event, conducted by career prosecutors and investigators, the Justice Department concluded that the evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Caesar Goodson, Officer William Porter, Officer Garrett Miller, Officer Edward Nero, Lieutenant Brian Rice, or Sergeant Alicia White willfully violated Gray’s civil rights.," the department said in Tuesday's statement.
The full statement is available here.
Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said the decision just shows that "federal civil rights violations require a different burden of proof than criminal violations of law. An independent investigation by police officers in Montgomery and Howard counties determined that policing protocols were violated by these officers and contributed to the mishandling of Freddie Gray's in-custody death. Three officers, who have been charged with internal infractions are now facing termination and two others are allegedly facing suspension. Justice is always worth the price paid for its pursuit."
Baltimore's Congressional delegation also issued a statement saying it is "disappointed" but not "surprised."
"We must now focus on ensuring that BPD has the resources it needs to implement the court-ordered consent decree and repair the sacred trust between police officers and the people they are sworn to protect," the delegation said in a statement.
"In order to improve BPD and reduce the violence in our city, Baltimore will need the support of the Trump Administration and DOJ. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has repeatedly stood in the way of our City's progress by attempting to impede the implementation of the consent decree and holding hostage federal resources to reduce violent crime," said the statement.
The civil rights investigation into Gray's death was separate from the DOJ investigation which found a possible pattern of unconstitutional policing within BPD.
That report, released last summer, stated, in part, that the Baltimore City Police Department,
Makes stops, searches and arrests without the required justification; uses enforcement strategies that unlawfully subject African Americans to disproportionate rates of stops, searches and arrests; uses excessive force; and retaliates against individuals for their constitutionally-protected expression.
Murphy said previously, in response to the 2016 DOJ Report,
When doctors discover cancerous tumors, they first must surgically remove them to treat the patient.
He continued, "This report, for which we are all grateful, proves that there are widespread human cancers in this department, not just a few bad apples as had been previously believed. These bad apples, these additional bad apples, these tumors, these human tumors must be properly and surgically removed before they spread their human cancer any further. In particular I'm talking about the commanders who ordered their officers to make these shocking numbers of false arrests and the officers who justified these false arrests, these unconstitutional arrests, by writing false charging documents under oath. They have to go."
Five officers face internal disciplinary trials, scheduled to begin Oct. 30.