Freddie Gray death: remaining charges dropped against police officers

Baltimore prosecutors failed to obtain a conviction after four trials, meaning there will likely be no criminal accountability for Grays death from a rough ride

Baltimore prosecutors have dropped all remaining charges against police officers in the death of Freddie Gray.

The surprise announcement Wednesday comes after four trials that ended with no conviction, and means there will likely be no criminal accountability over Grays death. Gray, a 25-year-old African American man, sustained fatal injuries in the back of a police van in April 2015.

Video of Grays arrest that showed officers dragging a screaming Gray on the ground drew international outrage. The city erupted in weeks of unrest, including numerous mass demonstrations against police brutality and a day of rioting.

People thought the city was in store for much worse before the young African American prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced charges against six of the officers, causing people who had been protesting to celebrate in the streets.

After months of failure to secure a conviction,many activists had lost faith in Mosbys strategy, culminating in Wednesdays announcement to drop the charges.

But in an emotional press conference Wednesday, Mosby pinned blame for the unsuccessful prosecution on systemic and inherent problems with the police investigation.

We do not believe Freddie Gray killed himself, she declared.

With the trials halted, a gag order was lifted that allowed Mosby to speak freely for the first time about the police role in the prosecution.

Whether investigating, interrogating, testifying, cooperating or even complying with the state we all bore witness to an inherent bias that is a direct result of when police police themselves, Mosby said.

She cited officers who were both witnesses in the case and part of the investigative team, and lead detectives who were completely uncooperative and started a counter-investigation to disprove the states case.

Gene Ryan, president of the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, called Mosbys claims outrageous, uncalled for, and simply not true in a subsequent press conference.

Mosby set the trial in the context of a national dialogue surrounding police brutality.

Baltimore finds itself at the epicenter of a national conflict between urban and rural populations of color and the law enforcement agencies that are sworn to protect and serve them, Mosby acknowledged. It is a struggle that strikes at the basic ideas of self-determination, justice, equality, and sadly, humanity in America.

But, as prosecutor, she said it was her job to focus on bringing justice to Gray and his family.

However fitting it is for observers to use the untimely death of Freddie Carlos Gray Jr as a barometer of our nations progress on police brutality, my professional role in this matter is plain: to seek justice on behalf of an innocent 25-year-old man who was unreasonably taken into custody after fleeing in his neighborhood, which just happens to be a high-crime neighborhood, and had his spine partially severed in the back of a Baltimore police wagon, she said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/27/freddie-gray-police-officers-charges-dropped