Two Baltimore cops charged in the death of Freddie Gray have filed suit against Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby for defamation.
Sgt. Alicia White and Officer William Porter filed suit on May 2, according to court documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun. They allege in the suit Mosby publicly made false claims about the officers at a press conference May 1, 2015, and that the harsh charges and Mosby’s tough rhetoric after Gray’s death were to keep the peace at their expense after riots ravaged the city.
“These among other statements were made not for the purpose of prosecuting crimes that had allegedly been committed by White and Porter, but rather for purposes of quelling the riots in Baltimore,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit demands $75,000 per each count, two counts of defamation and two counts of invasion of privacy. “They exposed plaintiffs to public scorn, hatred and contempt, thereby discouraging others in the community from having a favorable opinion or associating with plaintiffs,” the lawsuit says.
The suit also targets Maj. Sam Cogen of the Baltimore Sheriff’s Office claiming he knew the charges were false. The state’s attorney office has not commented because of a gag order surrounding the case.
Police arrested Gray in April of 2015 and transported him in the back of a police van. The details are unclear due to conflicting accounts, but Gray appeared healthy when arrested and was severely injured within an hour after his encounter with police. His spinal cord was severely damaged, and he died a week later from the injuries which led to riots throughout the city.
Baltimore Police Officer William Porter, 26, was the first of six officers to be tried, but the case was declared a mistrial. Porter, who is black, is scheduled to be tried again in September. Although he did not arrest Gray, he is accused of not properly buckling him into the van, which may have allowed Gray to slide around in the back and sustain the injury.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams found Officer Edward Nero, 30, not guilty of all charges Monday. He was the first of the six officers to get a verdict in the trial. The officer decided to have a bench trial, which means he gave up his right to a jury trial and allowed the judge to decide the case.
Prosecutors hit Nero with misdemeanor charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct in office, which could have landed him with up to 15 years in prison.The prosecution argued that Nero wrongfully detained Gray and failed to buckle him into the van.
Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. will be tried next, beginning June 6.
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