Baltimore's chief prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced Friday that Freddie Gray's death in police custody has been ruled a homicide. Mosby made the announcement during a press conference, where she also revealed the findings of the internal police investigation and that charges that have been filed against the six officers involved in his arrest.
Mosby said Gray's arrest was illegal, and therefore charges will be filed against six officers involved in Gray's April 12 arrest. Warrants were issued for all six officers, and by Friday afternoon, a public safety department spokesperson said all six officers have turned themselves in and are inside the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center. Charges against them range from second-degree murder to assault.
"The findings of our comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation coupled with the medical examiner's determination that Mr. Gray's death was a homicide," Mosby said, "we have probable cause to file criminal charges."
Court records show all six officers posted bond and have been released. The records also show bail was set at $350,000 for three of the officers while it was $250,000 for the other three. All of the officers have a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 27.
According to Mosby, the investigation found that Gray suffered a severe neck injury when the police transport van came to a stop at Baker Street, and his injury was a result of being handcuffed, shackled and unrestrained in the back of the wagon. She said Gray requested help and indicated he couldn't breathe, but officers did not restrain him in transport nor did they request medical assistance.
Mosby said officers were "grossly negligent" in getting medical help for Gray. In fact, she said one of the officers failed to restrain Gray at least five times, contrary to Baltimore Police Department policy.
Mosby also said a knife, not switchblade, that was found clipped to Gray's pants pocket was legal.
"I have heard your call for no justice, no peace. Your peace is sincerely needed," Mosby said. The crowds that had gathered to hear what Mosby had to say cheered when she announced the findings.
Mosby's announcement came only four hours after her office received the results of the internal police investigation and Gray's autopsy report. The crowd gathered around the courthouse steps to listen cheered and shouted "Justice!" when the announcement was made.
Meanwhile, the city is bracing for huge crowds at protests that were already planned for Friday and Saturday.
Six officers charged, one with second-degree murder
A charge of second-degree "depraved heart" murder was filed against the driver of the police van, Officer Caeser R. Goodson, Jr. He faces up to 30 years on the murder charge, and 10 years each for involuntary manslaughter, assault and "manslaughter by vehicle." "Depraved heart" second-degree murder means that the suspect held a reckless disregard for another person's life.
The other five officers were charged with crimes including manslaughter, assault, false imprisonment and misconduct in office.
Mosby said the illegal switchblade -- which Officer Garrett E. Miller swore in a court record under penalty of perjury that he found clipped inside Gray's pants pocket after he was detained -- was in fact a legal knife, and provided no justification for Gray's arrest.
She said Gray was assaulted by Miller, Officer William G. Porter, Officer Edward M. Nero, Lt. Brian W. Rice and Sgt. Alicia D. White. Each faces up to 10 years if convicted of second-degree assault.
Three of the officers, Goodson, Porter and White, are listed as black, while the other three listed as belonging to the broad category of "White, Caucasian, Asiatic Indian, Arab," according to online records.
Freddie Gray's family reacts
The family of Freddie Gray said they are satisfied with the charges against the officers involved in his arrest. Gray's stepfather, Richard Shipley, said the charges were an important in getting justice for Gray.
Family spokesman Billy Murphy said the charges are a first step, but not the last. The overwhelming message from the family during a news conference Friday afternoon was one of peace.
"Whoever comes into our city should come in peace," Gray's stepfather said. "If you aren't coming in peace, please don't come at all."
Murphy emphasized the family is just seeking justice, not a conviction-- a distinction they say is important.
Police union: Officers aren't responsible for Gray's death
Fraternal Order of Police local president Gene Ryan told Mosby in a letter before the charges were announced Friday that none of the six suspended officers were responsible for Gray's death.
An Open Letter to State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby 5/1/2015 pic.twitter.com/iUJ7elR3bq
— Baltimore City FOP (@FOP3) May 1, 2015
But Mosby said Gray was illegally arrested, assaulted, falsely accused of carrying an illegal weapon, and then hoisted, handcuffed, into the metal compartment of a police van without the seatbelt that all officers are told they must put on for safety of both detainees and officers.
Mosby said she comes from five generations of police officers, that she respects and honors how police serve the people, and that this case should in no way damage the relationship between police and prosecutors in Baltimore.
She swiftly rejected a request from the Baltimore police officers union asking her to appoint a special independent prosecutor because of her ties to attorney Billy Murphy, who is representing Gray's family. Murphy was among Mosby's biggest campaign contributors last year, donating the maximum individual amount allowed, $4,000, in June. Murphy also served on Mosby's transition team after the election.
FOP Attorney: Charges are rush to judgment
Michael Davey, an attorney representing the Baltimore City police union, reiterated during a Friday afternoon news conference that the six charged officers did nothing wrong and there was no police misconduct.
"Injuries did not occur as a result of any action or inaction on the part of these officers," said Davey.
He also raised concern that the publicity in this case is driving the prosecution to rush to judgment and move too quickly.
"In my 20 years career as a law enforcement officer and 16 years as an attorney, I have never seen such a hurried rush to file criminal charges, which I believe are driven by forces which are separate apart from the application of law and the facts of this case as we know it," Davey said.
Governor Hogan calls for peace in the city this weekend
Governor Larry Hogan released the following statement ahead of a weekend that already includes several planned protests:
"For the safety and well-being of all Baltimore residents, I strongly urge everyone to continue to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner in the days ahead. The last week has been very difficult for the people of Baltimore and emotions are still running high following the indictments issued this morning by State's Attorney Mosby. I believe in the criminal justice system, and we will all see this process play out over the coming months.
"I also want to thank the Baltimore residents who kept their protests calm and nonviolent over the last several days, including community leaders who worked to keep the peace in their neighborhoods. The incredibly hardworking men and women in the National Guard and State Police, as well as police and firefighters from Baltimore and the surrounding states and counties, deserve our thanks for their tireless efforts in protecting our citizens."
Police make arrests after curfew
After curfew went into effect at 10 p.m. on Friday, hundreds of people were still outside at North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, with many dancing on the streets celebrating the charges against the six officers in the death case of Freddie Gray. By 10:45 p.m., police in riot gear moved in and cleared the streets.
Also at City Hall, police moved in on demonstrators minutes and made arrests after some people refused to leave the area.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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