On Thursday, a grand jury indicted six Baltimore police officers charged in the case of Freddie Gray. This served as a green light for State Attorney Marilyn Mosby to press ahead with severe charges despite numerous criticism. She also announced that the officers will be arraigned on July 2.
The indictments were similar to the charges raised by Mosby almost three weeks ago. The serious charges for each officer were retained but the lesser charges were changed.
Edward Nero and Garrett Miller were both indicted on second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office for “failure to perform a duty regarding the safety of a prisoner” and for an illegal arrest. Their indictments did not include the false imprisonment charge which Mosby previously asserted.
Nero’s defense attorney Marc Zayon felt relieved about this change. He expressed that he is glad that the grand jury did not choose to indict Nero on false imprisonment. As for the rest of the charges pressed against his client, he feels confident that Nero will be acquitted.
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) May 21, 2015
The driver of the van Caesar Goodson will be facing charges of manslaughter and a second-degree “depraved heart” murder. He was also indicted on second-degree assault and misconduct in office. The rest of the officers Alicia White, Brian Rice and William Porter were charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office. They will also face reckless-endangerment charges.
Like Nero’s defense attorney, White’s lawyer Ivan Bates also feels confident about his client’s innocence. He is also looking forward to seeing the state attorney in court.
Prosecutors have been presenting the evidence to the grand jury for the past two weeks and according to Mosby, they discovered some new information which caused the change in the charges. However, she didn’t say what this new information was and she also refused to entertain any queries.
Gray died due to a critical spinal injury which he suffered while under police custody. When he was arrested, he was handcuffed, shackled by his feet and placed head-first into a van. He also wasn’t secured with a seatbelt which is a violation of police policy. Moreover, Gray’s please for medical attention were repeatedly ignored. Instead, they further secured him with leg irons because the officers considered him as “irate.”
A week after, Gray’s death inspired protests on two occasions which led to violence, looting and arson. His death became a symbol of police brutality against African-Americans residing in Baltimore which is why the Justice Department instigated a civil rights investigation of the Baltimore Police Department.