By Kayla Ruble
A grand jury has decided to indict the six Baltimore police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, who died after sustaining a severed spine while in police custody in April.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby made the announcement on Thursday evening, three weeks after she formally charged Officer Garrett E. Miller, Sgt. Alicia D. White, Officer Caesar R. Goodson, Jr., Officer William G. Porter, Lt. Brian W. Rice, and Officer Edward M. Nero in connection with the 25-year-old’s death, which sparked protests and riots throughout Baltimore.An arraignment is scheduled on July 2 for the officers, who face a range of charges, including second-degree murder, manslaughter, assault in the second degree, misconduct in office, and false imprisonment. When Mosby initially announced the charges on May 1, she said police had no probable cause to justify Gray’s April 12 arrest, and that the officers involved were negligent in his death.
“We have probable cause to file criminal charges,” she said during a press conference at the time.
Gray sustained a severed spine and crushed voice box in police custody after his arrest. His death a week later tapped into nationwide frustration over police abuse and discriminatory enforcement, inciting protests across the country as well as riots and looting in Baltimore following his funeral.
In the wake of the charges, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) said it would launch a federal civil rights investigation into the Baltimore Police Department following a request from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. The inquiry will examine whether or not a pattern or practice of abuse exists within the Baltimore police force, while looking at contributing factors to excessive force and discriminatory policing.
The DOJ earlier opened a separate civil rights inquiry looking specifically into the death of Freddie Gray on April 21, to determine whether civil rights violations took place during his arrest. The Justice Department launched the probe as protesters took to the streets of West Baltimore, where Gray lived and was arrested, demanding justice. – Vice News
By Kayla Ruble