A top Baltimore prosecutor on Friday said criminal charges have been filed against six police officers for Freddie Gray’s death, and warrants have been issued for their arrest.
The prosecutor, Maryland state attorney Marilyn Mosby, also said that Gray’s death was a homicide, as determined by the state’s chief medical examiner.
The six officers charged included a lieutenant, a senior with significant responsibilities, and one woman. They had been under suspension from the day Gray died.
Charged filed against them ranged from second degree murder (non-premeditated killing) to manslaughter (roughly culpable homicide) to false imprisonment to misconduct.
The 25-year-old black man’s death led to city-wide protests — which is now spreading to other parts of the country — and a day of rioting earlier in the week in Baltimore.
Announcing the charges on Friday, Mosby said Gray was wrongfully arrested, wrongfully transported in a police van and his repeated pleas for medical help were ignored.
As she announced the charges outside the city hall there were cheers from people standing around. Experts later said they were surprised with the speed with which she was moving.
To a question about how she intends to ensure a case like Gray’s didn’t happened again, the 35-year-old African American prosecutor said, “Accountability, as today.”
Baltimore police has a history of unreasonably aggressive behavior against black men, and protests following Gray’s death were seen also as an expression of pent up anger.
The officers had stopped Gray for no apparent reason on April 12. But he ran, and was arrested after a chase — officers found a knife on him, but it the kind allowed in the state of Maryland.
After arrest, he asked for an inhaler, but that request was ignored. And he was loaded into a van, but was not secured to a seat in violation of Baltimore police department rules, as as result of which he injured himself.
Gray “suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside the Baltimore Police Department wagon,” Mosby said.
He is reported to have died of this injury and and, as widely perceived, during arrest. Video of officers dragging a limp Gray to the van had led to assumptions he was fatally injured then.
Gray died of a severed spinal cord in a hospital a week later.
Baltimore police said on Thursday it had turned over its report on Gray’s death to prosecution, but Mosby said her department had already got most of the information already.