A grand jury has indicted all six officers charged in the Freddie Gray case, who died of injuries suffered in police custody. The officers charged include Garrett E. Miller, William G. Porter, Edward M. Nero, Lt. Brian Rice, and Sgt. Alicia White, Caesar R. Goodson Jr.
Baltimore State’s Attorney, Marilyn J. Mosby, announced the charges at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. Officers Miller and Nero have both been charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment. Porter, Rice, and White have each been charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment.
Whilst Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who drove the van, faces the most serious charges of all, second-degree “depraved-heart” murder. Attorneys for the officers criticised the charges labelling it an ‘overzealous prosecution’.
Mosby explained how Gray suffered a critical spinal injury after police handcuffed and placed him headfirst into a van – ignoring his pleas for medical attention. None of the officers secured Gray’s seatbelt in the van, a violation of police policy.
Gray’s death a week later led to riots that, on two occasions, turned violent. Protestors believe Gray’s death is another showing of the recurring police brutality against African-Americans in Baltimore.
Gray was arrested in Sandtown-Winchester, West Baltimore. According to court documents, he made eye contact with a police officer and then started running. He was apprehended two blocks away and arrested for possession of a knife. The state’s attorney believes the arrest was unlawful because the knife was legal under state law.
In the neighbourhood where Gray was arrested, the news has been received with scepticism. Lisa Logan, an HIV-awareness advocate, said she is glad that the case is proceeding, but doesn’t understand why the van driver faces more serious charges than the officers who put Gray in the van.
Whilst Michael Banks, a member of the neighbourhood said:
We ain’t worried about the indictment. We want a conviction.
Let’s hope justice can be done, and the truth is exposed.