Freddie Gray’s tally of arrests came to at least 18.
But on April 12, he was arrested for what would be the final time.
That arrest would lead to Gray’s death and scandal for the Baltimore Police Department.
On May 2, the Baltimore Sun broke the story that, of the six policemen involved with Gray’s arrest, Brian Rice—the highest ranking officer—had seven guns confiscated by sheriff’s deputies in April, 2012.
He was also temporarily removed from duty–over concerns about his mental health.
But that was merely embarrassing. What happened on May 1 was life-changing.
Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore’s chief deputy prosecutor at the State’s Attorney office, publicly released the findings of her agency in the Gray case:
- “The knife was not a switchblade and is lawful under Maryland law.” [Police had claimed it was a switchblade.]
- ” Lt. Rice, Officer Miller and Officer Nero failed to establish probable cause for Mr. Gray’s arrest as no crime had been committed by Mr. Gray. Accordingly Lt. Rice Officer MIller and Office Nero illegally arrested Mr. Gray.”
- ” Lt. Rice Officer Miller and Officer Nero loaded Mr. Gray into the wagon and at no point was he secured by a seatbelt while in the wagon contrary to a BPD [Baltimore Police Department] general order.”
- “…Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD wagon.”
- “Despite stopping for the purpose of checking on Mr. Gray’s condition, at no point did [Officer Goodson] seek nor did he render any medical assistance for Mr. Gray.”
- “Mr. Gray…requested help and indicated that he could not breathe. Officer Porter asked Mr. Gray if he needed a medic at which time Mr. Gray indicated at least twice that he was in need of a medic.”
- “…Despite Mr. Gray’s appeal for a medic, both officers [William Porter, Caesar Goodson] assessed Mr. Gray’s condition and at no point did either of them….render or request medical assistance.”
- “Sgt. [Alicia] White….spoke to the back of Mr. Gray’s head. When he did not respond, she did nothing further despite the fact that she was advised that he needed a medic. She made no effort to look or assess or determine his condition.”
- “Despite Mr. Gray’s seriously deteriorating medical condition, no medical assistance was rendered or summoned for Mr. Gray at that time by any officer.”
- “By the time Officer Zachary Novak and Sgt. White attempted to remove Mr. Gray from the wagon, Mr. Gray was no longer breathing at all.”
- “A medic was finally called to the scene where upon arrival, the medic determined Mr. Gray was now in cardiac arrest and was critically and severely injured.”
- “Mr. Gray was rushed to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma where he underwent surgery. On April 19, 2015, Mr. Gray succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead.”
- “The manner of death deemed homicide by the Maryland Medical Examiner is believed to be the result of a fatal injury that occurred while Mr. Gray was unrestrained by a seatbelt in custody of the Baltimore Police Department wagon.
After presenting her findings, Mosby then outlined the criminal charges her office was bringing against the officers involved:
- Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., 45: Second-degree depraved murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault, two counts of vehicular manslaughter charges and misconduct in office.
- Officer William Porter, 25:Involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
- Brian Rice, 41:Involuntary manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
- Officer Edward Nero, 29: Two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
- Officer Garrett Miller, 26: Two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and one false imprisonment charge.
- Alicia White, 30:Involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
* * * * *
This case has polarized Baltimore–and America.
On the Left–and especially among blacks–are those who believe Gray was an innocent victim of police oppression.
“Even if he was guilty of dealing and using narcotics,” they say, “the anti-drug laws are a stupid waste of police resources.”
On the Right are those who steadfastly defend all police actions, including the most brutal and lawless.
“Even if the cops were guilty of brutality and/or negligence,” they say, “so what? A career criminal won’t ply his trade anymore.”
Both sides are wrong.
Until the anti-drug laws are repealed, they are legal and will continue to be enforced. Freddie Gray knew this better than most.
But police who employ illegal methods to enforce the law risk losing not only the cases they want to bring but their own careers as well.
And those officers who cause death or injury by unjustified brutality and/or negligence must be held accountable.
That has long been considered the difference between the FBI and the KGB.
There is a difference between supporting the legal actions of police—and living in a police state.