Prosecutors in Freddie Gray Case Drop Charges Against All Three Remaining Officers
The state of Maryland has dropped all charges against the last three Baltimore police officers who awaited trials related to the 2015 death of Freddie Gray Jr., the lead prosecutor on the case announced Wednesday.
Baltimore police Officers Garrett Miller and William Porter, and Sgt. Alicia White were to face trials in connection with the April 12, 2015, arrest of Gray, who suffered a severe spinal injury during his transport to a police station. Gray, 25, who was black, died a week later from his injuries and his death was ruled a homicide.
The decision ends a more than year-long effort to hold six officers responsible for Gray's death, which sparked nationwide protests and civil unrest in Baltimore. The officers, who were to indicted and tried individually, faced charges that ranged from "depraved-heart" murder and manslaughter to lesser charge of misconduct.
Porter was to be re-tried, following a hung jury trial last December. Miller's trials had been scheduled to begin Wednesday, while White's was set for October.
Judge Barry Williams acquitted Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson, and Lt. Brian Rice of all charges, following their bench trials in May, June and July. Prosecutors had alleged that officers unlawfully arrested Gray, who had simply made eye contact with two bicycle unit officers, and were negligent in failing to properly restrain him in the police van. They also alleged that the officers ignored Gray's requests for medical attention.
A spokesman for Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake did not immediately respond to Mic's request for comment Wednesday morning. The mayor gave an interview to CNN later in the day, from Philadelphia.
The Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, the local officer's union, celebrated conclusion of the Gray case Wednesday and criticized Mosby's conduct during the prosecution. The national FOP also tweeted a statement on the case.
The state's decision to drop the charges also comes at a moment of high tension between activists in the Movement for Black Lives and law enforcement. The police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in early July intensified claims of slow change to address excessive uses of lethal force and racial profiling by U.S. police. The apparent assassinations of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, also in July, stiffened law enforcement leaders' criticisms of activists and saw some officers and political leaders lash out online.
Eyes had been on Baltimore city state's attorney Marilyn Mosby, who levied the charges against the six officers in May 2015. Ever since then, Mosby has faced criticism over the strength of evidence to support the charges against the six.
"My [team] never wavered on trying to seek justice on [Gray's] behalf," Mosby said in a press conference Wednesday. "We do not believe that Freddie Gray killed himself. We stand by the medical examiner's determination that Freddie Gray's death was a homicide."
In an explosive revelation, Mosby, who faces civil litigation over her decision to bring the charges, also said Wednesday that individual Baltimore officers hindered efforts to investigate Gray's death. During the press conference, Mosby was joined by Freddie Gray Sr., the victim's father.
"We are very proud of the prosecutors," he said. "We stand behind Marilyn and the prosecuting team."
July 28, 2016, 9:30 a.m.: This story has been updated.