Radio Sandwell African / Caribbean News

Baltimore grand jury charges six officers in Freddie Gray case

2015-05-22 07:25:41

Baltimore PoliceThe six police officers who have been charged (top row from left): Caesar Goodson Jr, Garrett Miller and Edward Nero; bottom row from left: William Porter, Brian Rice and Alicia White

A Baltimore grand jury has charged all six police officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray.

State Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced the revised charges on Thursday, but the most serious charges - including second-degree murder - remained.

Gray suffered a severe spinal cord injury in police custody in April and died a week later.

His death sparked weeks of protests and later riots and looting in Baltimore.

"As is often the case, during an ongoing investigation, charges can and should be revised based upon the evidence," Ms Mosby said.

The grand jury did not return charges on the false imprisonment charges that were brought against some of the officers.

Ms Mosby brought the false imprisonment charges earlier claiming that Gray's arrest was unjustified and illegal.

Marilyn MosbyThe Baltimore police union has called for Marilyn Mosby to step down from the case

However, the grand jury did return new reckless endangerment charges that were not part of the original charges announced three weeks ago.

Ms Mosby has said that Gray's neck was broken while he was being handcuffed and placed into a police van. She also said that police repeatedly ignored his pleas for medical attention.

The officers are scheduled to appear in court on 2 July.


The grand jury charges

  • Officer Caesar Goodson: 2nd-degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, 2nd degree negligent assault, manslaughter by vehicle by means of gross negligence, manslaughter by vehicle by means of criminal negligence, misconduct in office for failure to secure prisoner and failure to render aid, reckless endangerment
  • Officer William Porter: Involuntary manslaughter, assault in the 2nd degree, misconduct in office, reckless endangerment
  • Lieutenant Brian Rice: Involuntary manslaughter, assault in the 2nd degree, assault in the 2nd degree [second of two similar charges], misconduct in office, reckless endangerment
  • Officer Edward Nero: Assault in the 2nd degree (intentional), assault in the 2nd degree (negligent), misconduct in office, reckless endangerment
  • Sergeant Alicia White: Involuntary manslaughter, 2nd degree assault, misconduct in office, reckless endangerment
  • Officer Garrett Miller: Intentional Assault in the 2nd degree, assault in the 2nd degree, negligent misconduct in office, reckless endangerment

A lawyer for the six Baltimore police officers said they "did nothing wrong", after criminal charges were announced by Ms Mosby earlier this month.

Lawyer Michael Davey said the officers "at all times acted reasonably and in accordance with their training" and accused Ms Mosby of an "egregious rush to judgement".

"As all of the facts surrounding this case come out in the appropriate form, the officers' lack of wrongdoing will be made abundantly clear."

He also said that the defence team had "grave concerns about the fairness and integrity of the prosecution of our officers".

Freddie GrayFreddie Gray

Ms Mosby rejected a police union request to step aside and appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case.

The grand jury's decision to bring charges largely similar to Ms Mosby's may quiet calls for her to step aside.

Gray's death is the latest in a string of high-profile cases in the US where unarmed black men have died after contact with the police.

After his funeral, riots broke out in sections of West Baltimore, prompting city and state officials to deploy thousands of extra law enforcement officers and National Guard troops to keep the peace and enact a citywide curfew.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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