Baltimore City police officers will roll over on each other in the Freddie Gray case - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Baltimore City police officers will roll over on each other in the Freddie Gray case

Baltimore City police on night duty at the War Memorial. (Anthony C. Hayes)

The Baltimore State’s Attorney ruled that the death of Freddie Gray was a homicide. She charged all six Baltimore City Police Officers in the death of Freddie Gray. The charges ranged from 2nd degree murder, manslaughter, criminal negligence, gross negligence, misconduct and  assault.  She also ruled that the arrest of Mr. Gray was illegal and that the police failed to provide medical assistance to Mr. Gray after he repeatedly had requested it.

I had previously wrote that the City of Baltimore Police Department should not of investigate the death of Gray as their own officers were involved in the arrest.

150501200352-baltimore-officers-charged-montage-exlarge-169The State’s Attorney stated her office conducted their own independent investigation and used outside investigators.  This was the correct, moral and ethical decision on her part.

Now that these officers have been charged they deserve due process under the rule of law as is granted to any other citizen and the public will have to accept whatever the final result our criminal justice system determines.

My belief is that some of the officers will end up “rolling over” and make some plea deals, but that will not be anytime soon.

From the outset I have said that the police could be found to be negligent at the very least in Gray’s death if he was not seat belted into the transport vehicle as was reported.  We now know that he was not belted in.  That was a violation of police department policy, not to secure the prisoner into the vehicle.  There is little defense for that.  The City of Baltimore has paid multi millions of dollars in civil settlements in the past just for such conduct, the deaths of prisoners because of “rough rides” by the police. The police cannot say they were unaware that type of misconduct has occurred in the past.

State's Attorney Mosby says she will continue to work for justice for Freddie Gray. (Screenshot)

State’s Attorney Mosby says she will continue to work for justice for Freddie Gray. (Screenshot)

Mr. Gray’s arrest was illegal according to the State’s Attorney.  The police had no probable cause for the arrest therefore it was a false arrest.

The knife that has been wrongly quoted by many news agencies as a switch blade turned out to be a legal folding knife in Gray’s pocket and not seen by the police until after his arrest.

There was a police supervisor on the scene.  Once they determined that there was no probable cause for Gray’s arrest, under the law he should of been immediately released, but this did not happen.  Instead the police followed through with the false arrest, refused to call for medical assistance when Gray asked for it and placed him into a transport vehicle to be taken to the city jail knowing they had no probable cause for the arrest let alone the transport.

I heard people say that he ran when he saw the police, somehow justifying what happened to Gray.  That is nonsense.  There is no law that I know of anywhere in the United States that says running is against the law.  The police have to have other facts to at least give them reasonable belief that the person running has committed a crime. Unless you are “running while black”  in a poor neighborhood, maybe they thought that was enough.

Freddie Gray

Freddie Gray

The end result of this tragedy is that Freddie Gray, regardless of what past history he had, was arrested without cause, placed into a police vehicle without cause, denied medical assistance, which by the way was acknowledged by police officials way before today’s charges, and later died of injuries sustained while in police custody. Criminal  charges aside, like I said the other day, this will be another civil settlement by the City of Baltimore, this time for police misconduct and negligence in Mr. Gray’s death.

I am sad for the family and friends of Mr. Gray.  I am also sad for all the law enforcement officers in Baltimore and across the country who do their job with honor and integrity and who respect the rights of the people they swore an oath to protect and serve.  Police misconduct and corruption in any form cannot be tolerated.

I have come under scrutiny by some because of the articles I write.  They call me anti-police.  They do not know me.  I have always supported the police.  I do not support bad cops and those that disgrace the profession.  I have always stood up for what is right in my professional career even if that meant going against those in power who thought they were above the law.

I heard from one former police officer who remarked that the integrity and moral fiber of the police far exceeds that of the general citizenry.  My answer to him is that the police are the general citizenry.  If some police officers think that they are superior to the citizens they protect they need to find another profession.  Those few, with that way of thinking, are the problems in law enforcement.


About the author

Doug Poppa

Doug Poppa is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former law enforcement officer, criminal investigator and private sector security and investigations management professional with 40 years of experience. In 1986 Mr. Poppa was awarded “Criminal Investigator of the Year” by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. He was also re-assigned to the Northern Virginia Regional Narcotics Enforcement Task Force for 18 months. In 1991 and again in 1992 Mr. Poppa’s testimony under oath in court led to the discovery that exculpatory evidence was withheld from the defense by the prosecutor and sheriff’s office officials during the 1988 trial of a man accused of attempted murder of his wife that led to his conviction. As a result of his testimony the man was ordered released from prison, given a new trial in 1992 and found not guilty. Mr. Poppa became the subject of local and national news media attention as a result of his testimony which led to the demise of his 12-year police career. After losing his job, at the request of the FBI, Mr. Poppa infiltrated in an undercover capacity a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont Chemical fortune heir and his wife in 1992. His stories have been featured on Inside Edition, A Current Affair, and CBS News’ Street Stories with Ed Bradley. Contact the author.
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