Indictment of Officers in Freddie Gray Case Could Be Sign of Shift in Thinking

© Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun/TNS Baltimore City States Attorney Marilyn Mosby announces the indictments of six Baltimore police officers on various charges related to the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, in Baltimore on Thursday, May 21…
© Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun/TNS Baltimore City States Attorney Marilyn Mosby announces the indictments of six Baltimore police officers on various charges related to the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, in Baltimore on Thursday, May 21…

The differences between indictments returned Thursday against six Baltimore Police officers in the death of Freddie Gray and the initial charges filed this month suggest prosecutors have refined their approach to the case, legal analysts say — or, possibly, that a grand jury balked at the some of the counts they had sought. 

Baltimore lawyers who are not connected to the case say some of the changes could mean prosecutors are focusing less on Gray’s initial arrest — which State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said this month was unlawful — while others suggest prosecutors are trying to give themselves a backstop should any part of the case prove faulty.

Mosby moved swiftly to bring charges after Gray died last month of what the medical examiner has said were injuries suffered while in police custody.

While the indictments keep the case moving briskly forward, much about how prosecutors plan to prove the allegations remains unknown. The grand jury process is secret, and Mosby did not take any questions at a news conference Thursday.

Police say the 25-year-old Gray was outside the Gilmor Homes housing project in West Baltimore on April 12 when he saw officers on patrol and took off running. The officers caught him and found him in possession of what they initially said was a switchblade.

Gray suffered a severe spinal cord injury and died a week later.

When Mosby announced criminal charges against the six officers three weeks ago, she said possession of the knife was not illegal in Maryland, and police should not have arrested him.

After Thursday’s indictments, the major features of the case appear to be mostly the same.

Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who drove the van that transported Gray, is still accused of second-degree depraved-heart murder, and several officers face charges of manslaughter.

But Lt. Brian Rice, and Officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller, who were involved in the initial stop of Gray, are no longer accused of false imprisonment. That charge had struck many lawyers as unusual; police said it could leave officers worried that an error of judgment might lead to criminal charges.

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Source: Baltimore Sun | Ian Duncan

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