by Andrew Emett
September 3, 2015
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On Wednesday, Judge Barry Williams denied motions to dismiss charges against the officers who were responsible for the killing of Freddie Gray. Will justice be served?
A Baltimore judge denied motions on Wednesday to dismiss charges against the six officers responsible for causing the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while in police custody. Although defense attorneys for the officers argued that State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby should be removed from the case because of prosecutorial misconduct, the judge also denied the recusal motion.
At 8:39 a.m. on April 12, three Baltimore police officers were patrolling on their bicycles when Lieutenant Brian Rice made eye contact with two individuals standing at a street corner. After the two men immediately fled, officers pursued the individuals and apprehended one of them. According to police, Freddie Gray surrendered without requiring the use of force as an officer aimed a Taser at Gray but did not fire it. After restraining him, Officer Garrett Miller allegedly found a switchblade inside Gray’s pants pocket.
Witnesses assert that Lt. Rice and officers Edward Nero and Miller used excessive force to arrest Gray and refused to give him medical treatment. After watching the officers sitting on Gray’s back while handcuffing him, a bystander named Kiona Mack took out her cell phone and recorded a video of officers dragging Gray into the back of a police van as he screamed in agony.
Two minutes after police arrested him, Gray reportedly asked for medical attention including an inhaler to help him breathe. Although the videos show Gray dragging his feet and screaming in pain, he appeared responsive and could still speak. A few minutes after driving away from the scene, an officer asked the driver to pull over to finish paperwork.
At 8:46 a.m., Gray was placed in leg irons. Roughly ten minutes later, the police van received a request to pick up another prisoner. The other prisoner was placed inside the van, but a metal barrier prevented the second prisoner from making physical contact with Gray.
By 9:24 a.m., Gray was no longer responsive and had difficulty breathing. Police called for an ambulance to transport Gray to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma Center. Suffering from damage to his spinal cord including three cracked vertebrae, Gray fell into a coma. On April 13, Gray underwent surgery to repair his spine, which had reportedly been 80 percent severed. He survived for seven days before passing away on the morning of April 19.
After the Justice Department opened an investigation into Gray’s death in police custody, the medical examiner reportedly found that Gray sustained his fatal spinal cord injury when he slammed into the back of the police transport van, which broke his neck. The medical examiner also found a head injury that matches a bolt from the back of the van.
Baltimore police officers Caesar Goodson, Garrett Miller, Edward Nero, William Porter, Lt. Brian Rice, and Sgt. Alicia White were all charged with second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office. Lt. Rice, Sgt. White, and Officer Porter were also charged with involuntary manslaughter for failing to request medical assistance. Accused of administering a “rough ride” while driving the van and bearing direct responsibility for causing Gray’s spinal injuries, Officer Goodson was also charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder, manslaughter, and two counts of vehicular manslaughter.
On Wednesday, Judge Barry Williams denied motions to dismiss charges against the officers. Judge Williams also refused to remove the prosecutor in the case after defense attorneys for the officers accused her of prosecutorial misconduct. The defense attorneys argued that State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby had a conflict of interest because her husband, Nick Mosby, is a city councilman. They also claimed that State’s Attorney Mosby prejudiced the jury by making “reckless and unprofessional” remarks while announcing charges against the officers.
According to Judge Williams, the defense “didn’t come close” to justifying Mosby’s removal from the case. On Wednesday, Williams also ordered the six officers to be tried separately. The first court date is scheduled for October 13.