Just one week after Lt. Brian Rice was acquitted of all charges for his role in the death and arrest of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, prosecutors moved to dismiss the criminal charges against three remaining Baltimore police officers also on trial for his death.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow told Judge Barry G. Williams that the state was dropping all charges against Officers Garrett Miller, William Porter, and Sgt. Alicia White. The shocking decision was made at a hearing Wednesday meant to begin the trial of Officer Miller for his involvement in Gray’s death.
“All of our clients are thrilled with what happened today, and we’ll be making a comment later to address the details of what happened,” said Catherine Flynn, Miller’s attorney.
The prosecution’s unexpected move was reportedly based on the unlikelihood of securing a conviction against any of the three remaining officers. The case against Officer William Porter ended in a mistrial last year, while Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson were cleared of all charges, Atlanta Black Star reports. Lt. Rice escaped the most serious of charges after opting for a bench trial earlier this month.
Officer Porter was set to be retried on Sept. 6, while the trial for Sgt. White was scheduled for Oct. 13. Neither of those arraignments will happen now.
The latest acquittal of Lt. Rice resulted in renewed efforts to get State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby to drop the charges against the three remaining officers. Mosby quickly announced charges against the six officers involved in Gray’s death after the Baltimore man suffered fatal spinal cord injuries during a ride in the back of a police van last April. Medical examiners ruled Gray’s death a homicide. However, Mosby’s prosecutors failed to indict any of the officers charged in his death.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Mosby defended her decision to bring charges against the officers during a press conference in West Baltimore Wednesday.
“After much thought and prayer it has become clear that without being able to work with an independent investigatory agency from the very start, without having a say in the election of whether cases proceed in front of a judge or jury, without communal oversight of police in this community, without 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.
Mosby also pointed out the “inherent bias” that often occurs when “police police themselves” and said some individual Baltimore police officers impeded the investigation into Gray’s death.
“For those that believe that I’m anti-police, it’s simply not the case,” she stated. “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.”
Outrage over the acquittals of the remaining officers flooded social media, with many wondering how the justice system could fail at holding a single person accountable for Gray’s death.
— Zak4Speaker☭ (@Teenforbernie) July 27, 2016
If "law enforcement" isn't accountable for the easily verifiable homicide of #FreddieGray, then what's the point of "law" or a constitution?
— jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) July 27, 2016
Spine severed 80%.
Justice served 0%. #freddiegray
— Kwame Rose (@kwamerose) July 27, 2016
More clear proof that the justice system protects itself far better than it could ever protect the people. #FreddieGray
— DJ Pain 1 (@djpain1) July 27, 2016
I feel for the family of #FreddieGray. They were basically just told that nobody killed him. He just up and died
— Fig Floozy (@EatWithNia) July 27, 2016
— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) July 27, 2016
#FreddieGray did not kill himself.
Didn't snap his own neck.
Didn't crush his own throat.
Didn't drag himself around Gilmore Homes.
— Benjamin YoungSavage (@benjancewicz) July 18, 2016
Although the officers have been cleared of all charges, they each still face the possibility of administrative discipline, the Baltimore Sun reports.