Prosecutors dropped the remaining charges Wednesday against three Baltimore police officers awaiting trial in the death of Freddie Gray, bringing an end to the case without a conviction.
Officer William Porter’s trial ended in December with a hung jury then a mistrial, but a retrial was scheduled for later this year. Officers Edward Nero, Caesar Goodson and Lt. Brian Rice were all cleared by Judge Barry Williams in bench trials. Proceedings for Sgt. Alicia White and Officer Garrett Miller were still expected to take place. But as the court assembled for Miller’s trial to begin Baltimore Chief Deputy States Attorney Michael Schatzow told Williams that all remaining charges were being dropped by the state.
In the trials of Nero and Rice, Williams who took the place of a jury found that there was not enough evidence to convict on the charges given. In Porter’s case a jury could not be convinced there was sufficient evidence.
Gray, a 25-year-old Black man whose neck was broken while he was handcuffed and shackled but left unrestrained in the back of a police van, died in April 2015 of a severe spinal injury. His death added fuel to the growing Black Lives Matter movement and caused turmoil in Baltimore, including large protests and the worst public unrest the city had seen in decades.
Baltimore City States Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who brought charges against the six officers in 2015 defended her prosecution of the case.
“We do not believe that Freddie Gray killed himself,” said Mosby at a Wednesday morning press conference. “We stand by the medical examiner’s determination that Freddie Gray’s death was a homicide.”
Prosecutors had said Gray was illegally arrested after he ran away from a bike patrol officer and the officers failed to buckle Gray into a seat belt or call a medic when he indicated he wanted to go to a hospital. While in the police van, driven by Goodson, Gray was not properly strapped in and suffered the spinal injuries, according to testimony. He died a week later.
The case led the police department to overhaul its use of force policy, and all officers will soon be equipped with body-worn cameras. The U.S. Justice Department has also launched an investigation into allegations of widespread abuse and unlawful arrests by the department and the officers have sued State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, saying she intentionally filed false charges against them.
Gray’s family received a $6.4 million settlement from the city.
His mother, Gloria Darden also appeared at the press conference, saying she still believed the officers were responsible for his death. “I know they lied,” she said. “And they killed him.”
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