Baltimore Prosecutor Blasts Police After Dropping Charges - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Baltimore Prosecutor Blasts Police After Dropping Charges

Posted: Updated:

BALTIMORE (AP) - Fourteen months after the death of a black man whose neck was broken in a police van prompted massive protests, spawned rioting and toppled the careers of Baltimore's police commissioner and a Democratic mayor poised for re-election, authorities abandoned efforts to punish the officers involved.
    
The city's top prosecutor was righteous in her rage Wednesday as she made official what was already clear after four failed attempts to prosecute: no one will go to jail for Freddie Gray's death.
    
Earlier in the day, Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby had dropped the cases against the rest of the six police officers charged in Gray's death after prosecutors had suffered blow after crippling blow as a judge acquitted three others in rapid succession. Instead of conceding defeat, she blasted the police department for a biased investigation she blamed for failing to secure a single conviction.
    
"The prosecution of on-duty police officers in this country is surprisingly rare and blatantly wrought with systemic and inherent complications," the Democratic prosecutor said. "Unlike other cases where prosecutors work closely with the police to investigate what actually occurred, what we realized very early on in this case was that, police investigating police - whether they're friends or colleagues - was problematic. There was a reluctance and bias that was consistently exemplified."
    
Gray died a week after he suffered a spinal injury in the back of the detainee wagon while he was handcuffed and shackled, but not buckled in with a seat belt. Prosecutors alleged the officers involved in his arrest and transport were criminally negligent when they failed to use the seat belt, instead placing Gray face-down and head-first on the floor of a prisoner compartment. The state also said the officers erred when they chose not to call a medic after Gray indicated he wanted to go to a hospital.
    
Last May, Mosby said in announcing the charges that her decision to prosecute was based on both a police department investigation and a separate, independent investigation conducted by her office.
    
Three of the four officers who stood trial elected to have Circuit Judge Barry Williams hear their cases without juries. Williams then ruled three times in a row that although the officers may have exercised poor judgment, the state presented no evidence to prove they meant to hurt Gray. Without evidence or eyewitnesses to prove intent, he said, he could not convict. The other trial ended in a mistrial.
    
The city spent roughly $7.4 million on the trials, according to Anthony McCarthy, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
    
The proceedings revealed deep fissures among the police, prosecutors and the people of Baltimore. During the trial of van driver Officer Caesar Goodson, Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow accused a lead detective of trying to sabotage the investigation; in turn, the detective accused another prosecutor, Jan Bledsoe, of dismissing unfavorable evidence.
    
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis rejected Mosby's accusations, saying that "while we are all entitled to our own opinions, we are not entitled to our own facts." Marc Zayon, Nero's attorney, said Mosby had "spun a false narrative" in her prosecution of the officers with "no evidence that there was any wrongdoing."
    
Ivan Bates, who represented Sgt. Alicia White, added, "it is the Baltimore city state's attorney's office that denied justice to the Gray family and to these officers."
    
Gray's death prompted protests and became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement. Three of the officers charged in his arrest and death are black, and three are white.
    
Some legal experts say the case's outcome proves that Mosby's desire to charge the officers was ill-conceived and politically motivated. To others, her office's failure to secure a conviction is simply indicative of the grave challenges associated with prosecuting police, and the fact that she brought the charges in the first place should be celebrated as a slice of victory.
    
"This is part of the pains of breaking new ground," said Doug Colbert, a University of Maryland, Baltimore, law school professor who observed each trial. "It's an arduous task that requires dedication. But the message to every police officer is: You must protect and safeguard your prisoner or face possible prosecution. That wouldn't happen if these cases hadn't been prosecuted. It would have been just another person dying and the police would continue to engage in the same practices."
    
But Warren Alperstein, an attorney in private practice who also watched the trials in their entirety, said Mosby's inability to convict "was a total failure by the state's attorney's office."
    
"Considering back in May of last year Ms. Mosby passionately promised the citizens of Baltimore city that justice would be sought through the conviction of these six officers, the bottom line is the state failed."
    
University of Baltimore law professor David Jaros said the acquittals and dropped cases will embolden both Mosby's supporters and critics.
    
"Different communities experience policing in very different ways and view these cases through very different lenses: For some, there may be a belief that Marilyn Mosby fought the good fight and was defeated by the resistance of a police department unwilling to prosecute their own. Among others, this will be proof that the charges were not warranted in the first place," he said. "It's striking that this case demonstrates the limitations of expecting a criminal prosecution to resolve very difficult issues."

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Police Investigating Burglary at Milford Liquor Store

    Police Investigating Burglary at Milford Liquor Store

    Apr 26, 2018 12:52 PM2018-04-26 16:52:00 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 12:52 PM EDT2018-04-26 16:52:54 GMT
    Surveillance Photo by: Mike’s Liquor MartSurveillance Photo by: Mike’s Liquor Mart
    Surveillance Photo by: Mike’s Liquor MartSurveillance Photo by: Mike’s Liquor Mart
    Police are investigating an early morning burglary at Mike's Liquor Mart in Milford.More
    Police are investigating an early morning burglary at Mike's Liquor Mart in Milford.More
  • Delaware Lawmakers to Vote on Doctor-Assisted Suicide

    Delaware Lawmakers to Vote on Doctor-Assisted Suicide

    Apr 26, 2018 11:55 AM2018-04-26 15:55:00 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 11:55 AM EDT2018-04-26 15:55:27 GMT
    DOVER, Del. (AP/WBOC) - House lawmakers are set to vote on a bill allowing doctor-assisted suicide in Delaware.More
    DOVER, Del. (AP/WBOC) - House lawmakers are set to vote on a bill allowing doctor-assisted suicide in Delaware.

    More
  • Police Looking for Dover Robbery Suspect

    Police Looking for Dover Robbery Suspect

    Apr 26, 2018 11:44 AM2018-04-26 15:44:00 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 11:44 AM EDT2018-04-26 15:44:46 GMT
     Northeastern Title Loans robbery surveillance; Photo Credit:  Northeastern Title Loans/Dover Police Northeastern Title Loans robbery surveillance; Photo Credit: Northeastern Title Loans/Dover Police
    Northeastern Title Loans robbery surveillance; Photo Credit:  Northeastern Title Loans/Dover PoliceNortheastern Title Loans robbery surveillance; Photo Credit: Northeastern Title Loans/Dover Police
    DOVER, Del. -- The Dover Police Department is asking for the public's help identifying and locating the suspect involved in an armed robbery earlier this month.More
    DOVER, Del. -- The Dover Police Department is asking for the public's help identifying and locating the suspect involved in an armed robbery earlier this month.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Laurel Pastor Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

    Laurel Pastor Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

    Apr 25, 2018 4:17 PM2018-04-25 20:17:00 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 4:35 PM EDT2018-04-25 20:35:06 GMT
    Pastor Cesar M. Rios Martinez of Iglesia El Espiritu Santo in Salisbury arrested on child porn charges; Photo Credit: Delaware DOJPastor Cesar M. Rios Martinez of Iglesia El Espiritu Santo in Salisbury arrested on child porn charges; Photo Credit: Delaware DOJ
    Pastor Cesar M. Rios Martinez of Iglesia El Espiritu Santo in Salisbury arrested on child porn charges; Photo Credit: Delaware DOJPastor Cesar M. Rios Martinez of Iglesia El Espiritu Santo in Salisbury arrested on child porn charges; Photo Credit: Delaware DOJ
    LAUREL, Del. (WBOC/AP) - Authorities say a pastor at a church in Maryland has been arrested on child pornography charges.More
    LAUREL, Del. (WBOC/AP) - Authorities say a pastor at a church in Maryland has been arrested on child pornography charges.More
  • Molly Draper Russell Named CEO of Draper Holdings Business Trust

    Molly Draper Russell Named CEO of Draper Holdings Business Trust

    Apr 25, 2018 4:06 PM2018-04-25 20:06:00 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 4:11 PM EDT2018-04-25 20:11:42 GMT
    Molly Draper Russell named CEO of Draper Holdings Business Trust; WBOC, Draper HoldingsMolly Draper Russell named CEO of Draper Holdings Business Trust; WBOC, Draper Holdings
    Molly Draper Russell named CEO of Draper Holdings Business Trust; WBOC, Draper HoldingsMolly Draper Russell named CEO of Draper Holdings Business Trust; WBOC, Draper Holdings
    SALISBURY, MD—Draper Holdings Business Trust, parent company of WBOC-TV and Loblolly, LLC, has named Chairman of the Board Molly Draper Russell Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.More
    SALISBURY, MD—Draper Holdings Business Trust, parent company of WBOC-TV and Loblolly, LLC, has named Chairman of the Board Molly Draper Russell Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. More
  • Police Investigate Deadly Easton Crash

    Police Investigate Deadly Easton Crash

    Apr 25, 2018 5:14 PM2018-04-25 21:14:00 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 5:18 PM EDT2018-04-25 21:18:20 GMT
    An Easton woman has died following a car accident in Talbot County Monday afternoon.More
    An Easton woman has died following a car accident in Talbot County Monday afternoon.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • People March to Remember 9-Year-Old Germani Truitt and to Demand Justice

    People March to Remember 9-Year-Old Germani Truitt and to Demand Justice

    A family in Seaford is demanding justice after a nine-year-old was killed in a hit-and-run crash. Hundreds attended a march for Germani Truitt to remember her and to protest the fact that the driver who hit her is free on $6000 bond.

    More

    A family in Seaford is demanding justice after a nine-year-old was killed in a hit-and-run crash. Hundreds attended a march for Germani Truitt to remember her and to protest the fact that the driver who hit her is free on $6000 bond.

    More
  • Eleven Arrested in Georgetown Drug Bust

    Eleven Arrested in Georgetown Drug Bust

    Dover Police and Georgetown Police cooperated in a drug investigation that finished with the arrest of 11 people. Police say the bust started with the search of a building at the Dunbarton apartments in Georgetown on January 31. 

    More

    Dover Police and Georgetown Police cooperated in a drug investigation that finished with the arrest of 11 people. Police say the bust started with the search of a building at the Dunbarton apartments in Georgetown on January 31. 

    More
  • Hooked: Talbot Goes Purple

    Hooked: Talbot Goes Purple

    Last year, Talbot County went purple in solidarity with the efforts to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic. This year, people there say they're still going strong, spreading awareness on the drug epidemic. WBOC's Amy Lu reports.

    More

    Last year, Talbot County went purple in solidarity with the efforts to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic. This year, people there say they're still going strong, spreading awareness on the drug epidemic. WBOC's Amy Lu reports.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices