The six Baltimore police officers involved in the April 12 arrest of Freddie Gray now face a barrage of charges including assault, manslaughter and second-degree murder.
State prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced the charges in a surprise news conference on Friday.
Mosby said that officers illegally arrested Gray and that they also failed to render proper aid after placing him inside of a police van. Gray was inside of the police van for approximately 30 minutes. When police arrived at a jail processing center, Gray was found unresponsive. He was taken to the hospital and died on April 19.
Mosby, 35, stated that the medical examiner ruled Gray’s death a homicide. He sustained a broken neck, and the back of his head also showed injuries consistent with him hitting it on a bolt on the back of the van.
Mosby said that the three officers who arrested Gray had no grounds to do so. Officers began chasing him on the morning of April 12. He was found with a switch blade and loaded into the van. Mosby said that the knife was legal and that he should not have been arrested.
Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. received the heaviest charges. He was the driver of the police transport van that Gray was put into after his arrest. He faces charges of second-degree depraved heart murder, assault, manslaughter and misconduct. Second-degree depraved heart murder generally involves a callous disregard for human live.
Mosby said that officers placed a handcuffed Gray on his stomach inside of the van and that they failed on five separate occasions to put him into a seat belt, as is department policy. She also said that officers ignored Gray’s calls for medical assistance.
The specific causes of Gray’s injuries have been the subject of wild speculation. Many initially believed Gray was injured during the course of his arrest. That theory has lost some credence. Many now believe that Goodson drove the police van erratically in order to purposely harm Gray.
Two others, Officer William Porter and Lt. Brian Rice were charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter charges were handed down for Officer Alicia White. Two others, Officer Edward Nero and Officer Garrett Miller, were charged with assault and misconduct.
The officers are expected to be arraigned later Friday.
Baltimore’s Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement shortly after Mosby’s announcement, reiterating its call for a special prosecutor. The organization claims Mosby’s family ties and close relationship with a Gray family attorney and the media undermines her ability to try the six officers.
“While I have the utmost respect for you and your office, I have very deep concerns about the many conflicts of interest presented by your office conducting an investigation in this case,” wrote Gene Ryan, president of FOP Lodge 3.
“These conflicts include your personal and professional relations with Gray family attorney, William Murphy, and the lead prosecutor’s connections with members of the local media,” the letter states. “Based on several nationally televised interviews, these reporters are likely to be witnesses in any potential litigation regarding this incident.”
“Most importantly, it is clear that your husband’s political future will be directly impacted, for better or worse, by the outcome of your investigation,” the letter states.
Mosby’s husband, Nick Mosby, is a Baltimore city councilman.
“In order to avoid any appearance of impropriety or a violation of the Professional Rules of Professional Responsibilty, I ask that you appoint a Special Prosecutor to determine whether or not any charges should be filed,” Ryan stated.
This article has been updated.