Four Reasons Why the Freddie Gray Case Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon – BRANDON ELLINGTON PATTERSON AUG. 3, 2016 6:00 AM


The fallout from a failed police prosecution.

Baltimore State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, arriving at a press conference last month. Steve Ruark/AP

In late July, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped all remaining charges against two officers awaiting trial in the Freddie Gray case and decided not to retry a third, after a judge acquitted three other officers on all counts related to Gray’s death. The decision closed a chapter on a case that was a focal point for the Black Lives Matter movement. But although the criminal case is over, both the state’s attorney’s office and Baltimore police officers are still grappling with the consequences of the failed prosecution. Here’s how:

The six officers charged in Gray’s death will now face an internal affairs review. Led by the Montgomery County Police Department, the reviews—which can move forward now that the criminal cases have been concluded—will determine whether the officers’ actions violated department policy, and whether the officers can return to patrol duty. Such reviews can take several months to complete, however, and an analysis of cases by the Baltimore Sun found that 9 of 10 misconduct allegations investigated by Montgomery County Police Department do not result in officers being reprimanded. The officers will remain on paid administrative duty until the reviews are complete.

Several officers have sued Mosby for defamation and false arrest. At least five of six officers charged in Gray’s death have filed civil lawsuits against Mosby and Major Sam Cogen, the Baltimore sheriff’s commander who signed the charging documents in the case. Collectively the lawsuits seek more than $3.5 million in damages for charges including defamation, false arrest, false imprisonment, and federal civil rights violations—among their allegations is that Mosby charged the officers to appease Black Lives Matter protesters. They also allege that Mosby did not investigate the case as thoroughly as she had initially claimed, and that she deliberately made false statements about officers’ culpability at the press conference where she announced the charges. (Legal observers have said the chances of the suits succeeding are slim because prosecutors generally enjoy immunity from being sued, and the bar the officers’ attorneys would have to meet—showing that Mosby acted with malice—is high.)

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Baltimore Prosecutors Drop Charges in Freddie Gray Case – By SCOTT CALVERT Updated July 27, 2016 7:55 p.m. ET


Move means no officer will be convicted in Gray’s 2015 death

No officers will be charged in the death of Freddie Gray, who died in 2015 after being transported in a police van. WSJ reporter Scott Calvert joins Tanya Rivero with more details. -- Photo: Jamia Speller

No officers will be charged in the death of Freddie Gray, who died in 2015 after being transported in a police van. WSJ reporter Scott Calvert joins Tanya Rivero with more details. — Photo: Jamia Speller

BALTIMORE—Prosecutors dropped charges against three police officers still awaiting trial in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray on Wednesday—ending the high-profile case without any convictions.

The unexpected move follows three trials of officers earlier this year that ended in acquittals on all charges and a fourth trial last fall that ended in a hung jury.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Wednesday she saw little chance of winning convictions in the remaining trials. “As a mother, the decision not to proceed on the remaining trials is agonizing,” she said in front of a mural of Mr. Gray in West Baltimore. “However, as a chief prosecutor elected by the citizens of Baltimore, I must consider the dismal likelihood of conviction at this point.”

Prosecutors revealed the decision to drop charges in court ahead of the trial of Officer Garrett Miller, who had been charged with illegally arresting Mr. Gray and failing to secure him with a seat belt in back of a police van. Mr. Gray sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while being transported after his arrest for allegedly possessing an illegal knife.

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Baltimore Officer Acquitted of All Charges in Freddie Gray Trial – WSJ


A judge acquitted police Lt. Brian Rice of manslaughter and all other charges in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, another defeat for prosecutors who have yet to secure a conviction after trying four of the six officers charged in the high-profile case.

Source: Baltimore Officer Acquitted of All Charges in Freddie Gray Trial – WSJ

‘Rough ride’: practice that led to Freddie Gray’s death at the center of latest trial – Baynard Woods in Baltimore Thursday 9 June 2016 06.30 EDT


The trial of police officer facing the most stringent charge centers on a practice that’s likely to expose someone to serious physical injury – or in this case death

Caesar Goodson, center, leaves the courthouse.

Freddie Gray was shackled and loaded into a police van on his stomach with his hands cuffed behind his back on the day he was arrested last April. He was not strapped with a seatbelt, in violation of police department policy. Some allege that driver Caesar Goodson intentionally took sharp turns, allowing Gray’s body to be thrown around without the ability to hold himself steady.

It’s what Baltimoreans call a “rough ride”. The practice that came to light with Gray’s death last year will be at the center of the trial of Goodson, who faces the most severe criminal charges of all six officers – second-degree depraved heart murder.

“I anticipate the prosecution introducing testimony and witnesses to explain the practice, the common practice, of van drivers giving prisoners being transported the ‘rough ride’ or the ride that’s likely to expose them to serious physical injury or in this case death,” said University of Maryland law professor Douglas Colbert.

Over the past several decades Baltimore has paid out millions of dollars, settling suits alleging injuries from “rough rides”. But Goodson’s trial starting Thursday will put the practice to a new test of criminal liability.

To convict Goodson of second-degree depraved heart murder, the state will have to show not only that Goodson caused Gray’s death while transporting him to the police station, where Gray was found unconscious in the back of the van, but it will also have to show Goodson’s state of mind – that he was “conscious of the risk” and “acted with extreme disregard of the life-endangering consequences”.

The van stopped six times and Goodson was the only person, besides Gray, who was at each of the stops. Dr Carol Allan, the medical examiner, likened Gray’s injury to one caused by a dive into a shallow swimming pool. Gray died a week later of a spinal injury the medical examiner says he sustained in the van.

The case may also be state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby’s best shot at a conviction after two trials that haven’t yielded one.

 

The trials of 6 Baltimore police officers over Freddie Gray’s death, explained- Updated by German Lopez on December 16, 2015, 3:50 p.m. ET


William Porter, right, is the first Baltimore police officer to go to trial over Freddie Gray's death -- Rob Carr/Getty Images

William Porter, right, is the first Baltimore police officer to go to trial over Freddie Gray’s death — Rob Carr/Getty Images

The jury presiding over the first trial related to the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray returned from deliberations — with no agreement on a decision on Wednesday. Judge Barry Williams declared the trial for suspended Baltimore police officer William Porter a mistrial. So there will likely be yet another trial, which would force another jury to deliberate over the case.

This is only the first of at least six trials in which police officers face criminal charges over Gray’s death, which many claimed was caused by police negligence and brutality. But how the community will react to the mistrial, given the high tensions in the city after protests and riots earlier this year over Gray’s death, remains to be seen.

Porter was the first of six Baltimore police officers on trial. He faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment, all of which could carry a prison sentence of at least 25 years. As with the other five officers, Porter is currently suspended without pay.

Gray suffered a fatal spinal cord injury April 12 as he thrashed around the back of a police van without a seat belt, restrained by handcuffs, and despite repeated pleas for medical aid. Prosecutors accused Porter, who responded to a call by the police van’s driver, of negligently contributing to Gray’s death by failing to buckle Gray’s seat belt — as suggested by Baltimore Police’s guidelines — and ignoring Gray’s pleas for help. But Porter’s defense team argued that he advised the driver, Caesar Goodson Jr., and another supervisor, Alicia White, to take Gray to the hospital — although he thought Gray might be faking the injuries. Both Goodson and White are among the six charged with Gray’s death.

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http://www.vox.com/2015/12/14/10123478/freddie-gray-baltimore-police-trial-verdict

 

Freddie Gray’s Baltimore Neighborhood Watches Trial Warily – By JOHN ELIGON DEC. 13, 2015


A mural of Freddie Gray, who died from an injury suffered in police custody in April, in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore. Matt Roth for The New York Times 

BALTIMORE — The tattered city blocks are bouncing to their usual beat. Men are milling between street corners and bodega doorways, buses are chugging along and young men are popping wheelies on dirt bikes.

But something new has sprung up here in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood in the months since Freddie Gray’s fatal encounter with the police in April led to fiery unrest: large, colorful, hand-painted murals that cover several buildings and speak to this city’s rich black history. Billie Holiday and Ta-Nehisi Coates on one. President Obama on another. And, yes, Mr. Gray, gazing earnestly and flanked by protesters, on yet another.

It is a reminder that Mr. Gray remains baked into the collective consciousness here. He was certainly on the minds of Ricky McCarter and Thomas Easter as they lounged on a townhouse stoop around the corner from the mural on a recent morning, pondering the latest phase in the saga of Mr. Gray: the trial, nearing a close, of William G. Porter, the first of six officers charged in the death to have his case heard. He faces manslaughter and other charges on allegations that he ignored Mr. Gray’s pleas for medical attention after his arrest.

A block of boarded-up rowhouses on North Fulton Avenue in Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood. Matt Roth for The New York Times 

The response to the trial has been fairly muted, without mass demonstrations or round-the-clock news coverage. A tense calm lingers over the city. But residents are watching warily, skeptical about what the result will be, deeply aware of the drumbeat of police killings nationally, most with no officers punished.

“I really don’t want to be disappointed,” Mr. McCarter, 27, said as he leaned back on the top step beneath peeling red paint, explaining why he has not followed the trial closely. “I feel like I know how the trial going to go.”

“Around the nation, we watching a lot of officers get off on other cases,” said Mr. McCarter, who works as a security guard and was a regular at the spring protests. “So we kind of expect them to get off.”

Mr. Easter, Mr. McCarter’s 63-year-old uncle, brought up Chicago, where Officer Jason Van Dyke was recently charged with murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

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Medical Examiner Rules Freddie Gray’s Death a Homicide by Fatal Blow to the Neck – —By Edwin Rios| Wed Jun. 24, 2015 3:56 AM EDT


A leaked autopsy report shows that Freddie Gray suffered a fatal “high-energy” blow to the neck, the Baltimore Sun reported late Tuesday.

From the Sun:

The state medical examiner’s office concluded that Gray’s death could not be ruled an accident, and was instead a homicide, because officers failed to follow safety procedures “through acts of omission.”

Though Gray was loaded into the van on his belly, the medical examiner surmised that he may have gotten to his feet and was thrown into the wall during an abrupt change in direction. He was not belted in, but his wrists and ankles were shackled, making him “at risk for an unsupported fall during acceleration or deceleration of the van.” The medical examiner compared Gray’s injury to those seen in shallow-water diving incidents.

Gray’s death in police custody in April sparked protests in Baltimore and throughout the country. Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby decried the leak of the report on Tuesday, saying in a statement: “I strongly condemn anyone with access to trial evidence who has leaked information prior to the resolution of this case.” In May, a grand jury indicted the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest. Though a sealed court document at one time suggested that a prisoner in the van heard Gray “banging against the walls,” assistant medical examiner Carol Allan cast doubt on that possibility in the autopsy report, noting that Gray “may have been suffering a seizure at the time,” according to the Sun.

After Gray’s death, several former victims came forward to speak out against “rough rides,” a practice in which police allegedly drive erratically with an unrestrained, cuffed prisoner so as to cause injury or pain.

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/medical-examiner-freddie-gray-homicide