DOJ Drops Charges Against Officers In Freddie Gray Case

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None of the six officers connected to the arrest and subsequent death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in April 2015 will face criminal charges, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Aug. 12 after a two-year investigation.

Gray was arrested in Baltimore on Apr. 12, 2015.  NBC reports that the reason for his arrest was possession of a switchblade.

The Washington Post reports that Gray had been shackled at his feet and handcuffed with his hands behind his back.  While in this position, he somehow obtained a spinal injury and loss consciousness while riding in back of the police van.  He died one week later on Aug. 19.

Gray's case quickly elevated in the public eye over reports of alleged police violence and use of unnecessary force.  The day of his funeral on Aug. 27, 2015 spawned mass riots and civil protests.

That same day, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the DOJ would begin two investigations: a civil rights investigation into Gray’s death, and a probe into the operation of the Baltimore Police Department.

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Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby had charged the six officers involved in Gray's arrest with a number of state crimes ranging from misconduct to second-degree murder, The Baltimore Sun reports.

All of the law enforcement members involved in the case -- Officers Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller, Edward M. Nero, William G. Porter, Lt. Brian W. Rice and Sgt. Alicia D. White -- pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Goodson, Miller and Nero were acquitted in separate trials by Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams.  Mosby dropped the charges against the other three officers in July 2016.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the Obama administration issued a statement announcing that the DOJ investigations would continue after the Mosby's case was dropped.

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NBC reports that the DOJ's probe into police practices revealed a pattern of racial discrimination and use of unnecessary force against African Americans. In January 2017, Baltimore agreed with the Obama administration to work on the situation internally so as to avoid a federal lawsuit.

In regards to the violation of civil rights probe against the officers, the DOJ announced on Sept. 12 that they did not will not be pressing charges.

"After an extensive review of this tragic event, conducted by career prosecutors and investigators, the Justice Department concluded that the evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that" the officers "willfully violated Gray's civil rights," the department wrote in a press release.

Though all federal charges have been dropped, some of the officers may still face punitive action in association with Gray's arrest and death.

According to The Baltimore Sun, another review conducted by two separate police agencies in Montgomery and Howard counties found five of the policemen to have violated policies of the Baltimore Police Department.  

Those trials will begin later in fall and winter of 2017.  White, Goodson and Rice face termination while Nero and Miller face five days suspension without pay.

Sources: The Baltimore Sun via MSN, NBC, The Washington Post / Featured Image: Veggies/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: GoBlue85/Wikimedia Commons (2)

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