Freddie Gray fallout: Baltimore will never be the same
BALTIMORE – The six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray were charged with crimes ranging from murder to manslaughter to assault, Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday – a significant new development in a case that has provoked days of widespread protests in the highly segregated city.
Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died April 19 following a severe spinal cord injury suffered while in police custody. He was arrested on April 12, apparently for possession of a switchblade. Mosby, at a press conference, said the knife was not a switchblade and was legal under Maryland law, making Gray’s arrest illegal.
“No crime was committed by Freddie Gray,” Mosby said to cheers, adding that the investigation is ongoing. In the aftermath of Mosby’s presser, far more jubilant crowds gathered in the city, some chanted “convict all six.”
Office Caesar Goodson, who drove the police van that carried Gray to a local precinct, faces the most severe charge, second-degree depraved heart murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Other charges include manslaughter and second-degree assault. A full list of the officers’ names and charges is below.
“I was sickened and heartbroken by the statement of charges we heard today,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a brief but impassioned statement, ”because no one in our city is above the law. Justice must apply to all of us equally.”
“There will be justice,” the mayor added. All six of the indicted officers were taken into custody Friday and NBC News has confirmed that all of them were bonded out less than 24 hours later.
Rawlings-Blake said that most officers on the city’s police force serve with “courage and distinction.” But, she added, “to those of you who wish to engage in brutality, misconduct, racism and corruption, let me be clear, there is no place in the Baltimore Police Department for you.”
Gray’s stepfather, Richard Shipley, said the family was satisfied with the charges and pleaded for peace in the city.
“If you are not coming in peace, please do not come at all,” Shipley said in a series of brief but emotional remarks in a press conference Friday. “Because this city needs to get back to work. The last thing that Freddie woulkd want is for the hard working people of Baltimore to lose their jobs and businesses because of his death.”
“Where bad policeman fear committing misconduct because good policeman no longer fear preventing, correcting, reporting it … the blue wall of silence which makes policeman wrongfully conspire to conceal evil, must come down,” Gray family attorney Billy Murphy added.
Baltimore has been gripped by unrest over Gray’s mysterious death. Riots and looting broke out Monday night hours after Gray’s funeral. In response, the city was placed under a state of emergency and the National Guard was deployed into the streets. A citywide curfew has been in effect since Tuesday. Police say they are expecting large demonstrations this weekend.