Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged six police officers Friday in connection with the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray who died April 19 – a week after he suffered a devastating spinal injury in lieu of being transported in a police wagon in West Baltimore.
“To the people of Baltimore and demonstrators across America, I heard your call for, ‘No justice, no peace’,” she said to a cheering crowd standing outside at the War Memorial Friday. “Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man.”
The police union slammed Mosby’s decision to file charges and demanded an independent prosecutor be assigned to the case, arguing Mosby has conflicts of interests.
“Let me begin by stating how appalled and frustrated we are at this morning’s events. …. We are disappointed in the apparent rush to judgment given the fact that the investigation into this matter has not been concluded,” said Gene Ryan, president of the police union. “Our officers, like every other American, are entitled to due process.”
The six officers arrested are identified as Lt. Brian Rice, 41, Sgt. Alicia White, 30, Officer William Porter, 25, Officer Garrett Miller, 26, Officer Edward Nero, 29 and Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., 29. Rice, White, and Porter are black. Miller, Nero and Goodson are white.
Mosby called the officer’s actions “grossly negligent.” She outlined Gray’s April 12 arrest in detail, noting contrary to police claiming they had probable cause to arrest him because officers stated Gray had a switchblade was not true. Gray’s knife was a legal knife.
“Lt. Rice, Officer Nero and Officer Miller failed to establish probable cause for Mr. Gray’s arrest, as no crime had been committed by Mr. Gray,” Mosby said. Upon making eye-contact with the officers, Gray fled the scene and was apprehended by the officers and then placed in a police wagon, she said.
The police wagon made its first stop at Baker Street, where Gray was removed, put in flex cuffs and leg shackles, she said.
“Following transport from Baker’s Street, Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being restrained, handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained by his feet inside the Baltimore Police Department wagon,” she said.
The wagon then stopped at the intersection of Mosher and Freemont Street. Goodson, the driver, got out and observed Gray, but gave him no medical aid. Gray was not properly restrained in a seatbelt – a violation of police department policy, she said. The wagon’s third stop was at Dolphin and Druid Hill Street, where Gray said he couldn’t breathe. He requested twice for medical attention.
“However, despite Mr. Gray’s request for a medic, both officers assessed Mr. Gray’s condition. At no point did they restrain Mr. Gray per BPD general order, nor did they render or request medical attention,” she said.
The wagon then headed to North Avenue and Pennsylvania, where it picked up Donta Allen. At that time, Gray already was unresponsive, according to Mosby. Allen told CNN that Gray did not intentionally try to injure himself, which contradicted The Washington Post story, claiming Allen told officers Gray was trying to hurt himself.
“I know for a fact that he (Gray) did not hurt himself,” Allen told CNN. “You cannot do that (to yourself) in the (wagon). You can probably hit your head and have a little headache, but you can’t hurt yourself to the point you’re going to be dead.”
The officers failed to seek medical help for Gray when they picked up Allen. When the wagon arrived at the Western District Police Station, officers removed Allen and then realized Gray had stopped breathing and was in cardiac arrest. The officers then called paramedics. Gray died in the hospital a week after he had spinal surgery.
Mosby will present the evidence to a Grand Jury where the officers face possible indictments. If convicted on all the charges the officers together face up to 173 years in prison. The officers posted bail and have a preliminary court hearing scheduled for May 27.
Following Gray’s death protests erupted and ultimately culminated in the worst riot Baltimore had seen since 1968 after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was forced to request assistance from the state’s national guard.
A curfew remains into effect mandating city residents stay indoors between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and is still active. Several hundred arrests have been made in connection with those violating the curfew.
The six officers are facing the following charges:
Lt. Brian Rice, 41, has been a member of the Baltimore Police Department since 1997. Rice supervised Gray’s arrest. He is charged with involuntary manslaughter, two second-degree assault charges, two misconduct in office charges and false imprisonment. If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison. Bail was set at $350,000.
Sgt. Alicia White, 30, has been a member of the Baltimore Police Department since 2010: She is charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office. If convicted, she could face a sentence of as much as 20 years in prison. Bail was set at $350,000.
Officer William Porter, 25, has been a member of the Baltimore Police Department since 2012: He is charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. Bail was set at $350,000.
Officer Garrett Miller, 26, has been a member of the Baltimore Police Department since 2012: He is charged with second-degree assault intentional, second-degree assault negligent, two misconduct in office charges and false imprisonment. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. Bail was set at $250,000.
Officer Edward Nero, 29, has been a member of the Baltimore Police Department since 2012: He is charged with false imprisonment and second-degree assault intentional, second-degree assault negligent, two misconduct in office charges and false imprisonment. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. Bail was set at $250,000.
Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., 45, has been a member of the Baltimore Police Department since 1999. He was the driver of the prisoner transport van. He is charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder; involuntary manslaughter; second-degree negligent assault; manslaughter by vehicle by means of gross negligence; manslaughter by vehicle by means of criminal negligence; misconduct in office for failure to secure a prisoner, failure to render aid. If convicted, he faces up to 63 years in prison. Bail was set at $350,000.
Mosby, who ran for officer with promising to crack down on police corruption and brutality comes from a long-line of law enforcement in her family. She said it was important not to paint the entire police department as villains.
“I can tell you that the actions of these officers will not and should not in any way damage the important working relationships between police and prosecutors as we continue to fight together to reduce crime in Baltimore.”
Bryan is a freelance political journalist who has extensive experience covering Congress and Maryland state government.
His work includes coverage of the election of Donald Trump, the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and attorneys general William Barr and Jeff Sessions-as well as that of the Maryland General Assembly, Gov. Larry Hogan, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bryan has broken stories involving athletic and sexual assault scandals with the Baltimore Post-Examiner.
His original UMBC investigation gained international attention, was featured in People Magazine and he was interviewed by ABC’s “Good Morning America” and local radio stations. Bryan broke subsequent stories documenting UMBC’s omission of a sexual assault on their daily crime log and a federal investigation related to the university’s handling of an alleged sexual assault.