(CNSNews.com) - Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby defended her initial decision to prosecute six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray even as she announced Wednesday that she would drop the charges against the remaining officers awaiting trial, leading to no convictions in Gray’s death.
“For those that believe I’m anti-police, it’s simply not the case. I’m anti-police brutality, and I need not remind you that the only loss and the greatest loss in all of this was that of Freddie Gray’s life. For over a year, my office has been forced to remain silent in all six of the cases pertaining to and surrounding the death of Freddie Gray. Despite being physically and professionally threatened, mocked, ridiculed, harassed and even sued, we’ve respected and fulfilled our obligation in dutiful silence in accordance with Judge Barry Williams’ gag order, restricting any commentary from the state,” she said.
Officers Edward Nero, Caesar Goodson, and Lt. Brian Rice were all acquitted. The jury was deadlocked in Officer William Porter’s first trial, so a retrial was scheduled for the fall. A pretrial hearing had been scheduled for Wednesday for Officer Garrett Miller, and the trial against Officer Alicia White was also set for the fall.
Mosby explained what led to her decision to drop charges against the remaining officers.
“In these cases, my prosecutors presented a great deal of evidence to support the charges alleged, and although we came close to convicting one of the officers when his case was tried before 12 Baltimore city residents, the judge, who is within his right, has made it clear that he doesn’t agree with the state’s theory of the case and does not believe that any of the actions or inactions of these officers rise to the level of criminality,” she said.
“The judge has acquitted three of these officers – one of the arresting officers, the wagon driver, the highest-ranking police officer in these matters. In light of these consistent outcomes, the likelihood of the remaining defendants’ decision to elect a bench trial with this very same judge is highly probably and unfortunately so is the outcome,” Mosby said.
Mosby said she realized early on that prosecuting these cases would be “problematic.”
“As the world has witnessed over the past 14 months, the prosecution of on-duty police officers in this country is unsurprisingly rare and blatantly fraught with systemic and inherent complications. Unlike with other cases, where prosecutors work closely with the police to investigate what actually occurred, what we realized very early on in this case is that … investigating police – whether their friends or merely their colleagues – was problematic,” Mosby said.
“There was a reluctance and an obvious bias that was consistently exemplified not by the entire Baltimore police department, but by individuals within the Baltimore police department at every stage of the investigation, which became blatantly apparent in the subsequent trials,” she said.
Mosby blamed a number of Baltimore police officers who she said were “uncooperative” and launched “a counter investigation to disprove the state’s case,” even “creating notes that were drafted after the case was launched.”
“Although Commissioner Davis was and has been extremely accommodating, there were individual police officers that were witnesses to the case, yet were part of the investigative team,” Mosby said, adding that there were “interrogations that were conducted without asking the most poignant questions.”
There were “lead detectives that were completely uncooperative and started a counter investigation to disprove the state’s case, by not executing search warrants pertaining to text messages among the police officers involved in the case, creating videos to disprove the state’s case without our knowledge, creating notes that were drafted after the case was launched to contradict the medical examiner’s conclusion, turning these notes over to defense attorneys months prior to turning them over to the state and yet doing it in the middle of trial,” Mosby said.
Mosby said there was “an inherent bias that is a direct result of when police police themselves.”
“We do not believe that Freddie Gray killed himself. We stand by the medical examiner’s determination that Freddie Gray’s death was a homicide,” she said.
Mosby said without the help of an independent investigating agency and a say in whether the cases go before a judge or a jury, no matter how many times she tried these cases, the result would still be the same.
“However, after much thought and prayer, it has become clear to me that without being able to work with an independent investigatory agency from the very start, without having a say in the election of whether our cases proceed in front of a judge or a jury, without communal oversight of policing in this community, without real substantive reforms to the current criminal justice system, we could try this case 100 times and cases just like it, and we would still end up with the same result,” she said.
Despite the outcome of the cases and how “arduous” the process has been, Mosby said, “there have been many gains throughout this journey to make sure that what happened to Freddie Gray never happens to another person that comes into contact with police – justifiably or unjustifiably again.”
“Never again should there be a question as to why someone is being stopped, detained, or arrested due to the fact that there will now be full implementation of body worn cameras on all officers. Never again should someone be placed unsecured and defenseless in a metal wagon, head first, feet shackled, and handcuffed due to the fact that officers are now required to secure and seat belt all prisoners,” Mosby said.
“Never again should there be a need to rely on circumstantial evidence to observe what takes place in police wagons due to the fact that cameras are now equipped in every one of them. Never again should an officer ignore or neglect a prisoner’s request for medical attention to no avail due to the fact that it is now mandatory for officers to call a medic when requested,” she said.
“Never again should a commanding officer or a rank-and-file officer be able to assert that they are unaware of departmental policies, general orders, or procedures, due to the fact that there is now a software verification and accountability system to ensure their adherence. Never again should an officer exhibit a blatant or reckless disregard for human life due to the fact that there are now use of force policies that emphasize the sanctity of life, accentuates de-escalation and requires that officers intervene if fellow officers cross the line,” Mosby added.