Investigators with the Baltimore police task force investigating the Freddie Gray case did not expect the 25-year-old’s death to be ruled a homicide and believe that the charges filed in the case are not supported by evidence, officials told CNN.
Baltimore police’s task force believed that manslaughter would be the highest charge any of the six officers charged would face, CNN reported.
Instead, Baltimore City state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby is charging Caesar Goodson Jr., the officer who transported Gray in a police van, with second-degree depraved-heart murder, manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct.
Homicide investigators also believed that the medical examiner conducting Gray’s autopsy was set to determine that the cause of death was something less than homicide. They were surprised when Mosby announced Friday that Gray’s death was ruled a homicide.
CNN’s report comes a day after Edward Nero, one of the officers who helped arrest Gray, filed a motion in Baltimore District Court to force Mosby to turn over the knife found on Gray during his April 12 arrest.
Mosby said on Friday that Gray’s arrest was illegal, in part, because the knife was not a switch blade and therefore not illegal in Maryland.
But in the motion, Nero claims that the “spring-assisted” knife was illegal within Baltimore city limits, which has stricter laws than the rest of the state. (RELATED: One Of The Cops Charged In Freddie Gray Case Insists Arrest Was Legal)
Nero faces charges of second-degree assault, false imprisonment and misconduct.
One of Mosby’s top investigators could also cause problems for the state’s case.
Avon Mackel was demoted from his position as a high-ranking Baltimore police officer in 2009 for failing to properly investigate a robbery case two officers failed to report. Four months after the demotion, a SWAT unit was dispatched to Mackel’s home. Officers found him drunk and with a gun, and he was tased.
According to CNN, the officers’ defense attorneys will likely home in on Mackel’s demotion, claiming that he is biased against his former employer.
Mosby declined to discuss the case but issued a statement.
“While the evidence we have obtained through our independent investigation does substantiate the elements of the charges filed, I refuse to litigate this case through the media,” Mosby told CNN.
“The evidence we have collected cannot ethically be disclosed, relayed or released to the public before trial. As I’ve previously indicated, I strongly condemn anyone in law enforcement with access to trial evidence, who has or continues to leak information prior to the resolution of this case. These unethical disclosures are only damaging our ability to conduct a fair and impartial process for all parties involved.”
Even before these doubts were brought to light, Mosby was accused of overcharging the officers and of having numerous conflicts of interest. Her husband, Nick Mosby, is a city councilman who represents the area where Gray was arrested. Billy Murphy Jr., the attorney for the Gray family, was on Mosby’s election transition committee and donated $5,000 to her campaign. (RELATED: Law Professor: Baltimore Officers Were Overcharged, Charges Will Likely Be Dismissed)
Mosby has also shown an activist streak. In a short speech given in front of a church group early last week, Mosby lamented what she said is a racist criminal justice system and said that in Gray’s case she would “pursue justice by any and all means necessary.” (RELATED: Marilyn Mosby Gave A Fiery Speech About Freddie Gray Days Before Police Concluded Their Investigation)