The Department of Justice (DOJ) is declining to bring charges against the six officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died in police custody two years ago, the department said in press release Tuesday.
The DOJ said there was “insufficient evidence” to justify bringing federal civil rights charges against the six officers involved. The Baltimore police officers faced potential federal charges for injuries that Gray died from while in police custody after former Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced a formal DOJ investigation into the matter.
“Although Gray’s death is undeniably tragic, the evidence in this case is insufficient to meet these substantial evidentiary requirements. In light of this, and for the reasons explained below, this matter is not a prosecutable violation of the federal civil rights statutes,” the department said in the press release.
Gray died from a broken neck sustained in the back of a police van while handcuffed, as he was not wearing a restraint at the time. The state prosecutors brought charges against the officers involved in 2015, but three were acquitted at trial and the rest had their charges dropped by Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby in 2016.
The death of Gray set off violent riots in Baltimore and led to the city to sign a consent decree to have the police department monitored to make sure it implemented reforms suggested by the DOJ.
Attorney Michael Davey for the police union said they are pleased with the announcement should the sources be correct after a report from the Baltimore Sun cited sources saying charges wouldn’t be brought.
“We only wish that the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office would have done just as thorough an investigation before they brought their state charges,” Davey said. “If they would have done that, we believe they would have come to the same conclusion as the Department of Justice.”
Five of the officers, Lt. Brian Rice, Sgt. Alicia White and officers Caesar Goodson, Edward Nero and Garrett Miller, will be undergoing public departmental trials next month.
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