News Media Oppose Gag Order in Baltimore's Freddie Gray Case
BALTIMORE (AP) - The Associated Press and 18 other news organizations asked a judge Friday to deny prosecutors' request for a gag order in the case against six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, who sustained a severe spinal injury in police custody.
The motion filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court contends such an order would violate free speech provisions of the U.S. and Maryland constitutions.
"Transparency is most needed in cases asserting governmental wrongdoing. This is particularly true when allegations of governmental wrongdoing are levied by both sides, against police officers and prosecutors alike," attorney Nathan Siegel wrote on behalf of the news organizations.
Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby declined to comment on the motion.
"I refuse to litigate this case through the media. We want to ensure we are able to conduct a fair and impartial process for all parties involved," she said in an emailed statement.
Prosecutors have asked the court to bar lawyers, police and witnesses from talking outside of court about the case. They cited statements made by defense attorneys, including some questioning the integrity of the prosecution, that prosecutors said could prejudice the public.
The officers are charged with crimes ranging from assault to second-degree murder in connection with Gray's death on April 19. The 25-year-old black man was arrested after he allegedly ran from police. He was charged with carrying an illegal switchblade knife. He arrived at the police station fatally injured after riding in the back of a police van, unsecured by a seat belt, while wearing handcuffs and leg restraints.
The other news outlets are The Baltimore Sun, Hearst Stations Inc., Sinclair Broadcasting, CBS Broadcasting Inc., Scripps Media Inc., ABC News, Bloomberg News, Buzzfeed, CNN, Fox News, Gannett, NBC News, National Public Radio, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and the Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press.