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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Murder charges against Freddie Gray cops may be DROPPED because police findings don't support the case, say officials


  • Baltimore City State Attorney charged six officers over death of Gray
  • Separate police probe of case says manslaughter is most serious crime 
  • Defense lawyers are arguing that arrest for knife possession was legal
  • 'If this case falls apart, will Baltimore burn?' one official asked 

  • The"brilliant" Black AG


    The murder charges filed against the Baltimore officers who arrested Freddie Gray could be dropped, because the police investigation into his death doesn't support the prosecution's case, it's been reported.

    Last Friday, Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby levelled charges ranging from assault to second-degree murder at six police officers involved in Gray's death. He had suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody.
    However, officials familiar with the case have revealed that police investigators do not agree with the charges.

    The officials said that the internal probe team do not believe a charge more serious than manslaughter should be brought against any of the officers, according to CNN.

    What's more, defense lawyers are mounting a challenge to Mosby's assertion that the officers had unlawfully arrested Gray because the knife he had in his pocket is considered legal under Maryland state law.
    Marc Zayon, the attorney for Edward Nero, one of the officers charged, argued in a motion filed Monday that the knife in Gray's pocket — described in charging documents as 'a spring assisted, one hand operated knife' — is in fact illegal under state law.



    'If the facts were that the knife was illegal then the Gray arrest would be justified. Even if it wasn't illegal and the officers acted in good faith, it would be the same result. All charges fail,' said lawyer Andy Alperstein, who is not involved in the investigation.

    Defense lawyers may also exploit the past of a member of Mosby's investigative team, CNN said.

    One of her lead investigators is Avon Mackel, a former senior Baltimore police officer whose reputation is tainted by a 2009 incident that led to him being removed from his command post.


    He was accused of not tackling two officers who failed to report a robbery.

    Lawyers for the defense could reason that he holds a grudge against the department. 
    Nero and Officer Garrett Miller are charged with misdemeanors. Four others — Sgt. Alicia White, Lt. Brian Rice and officers Caesar Goodson and William Porter — are charged with felonies ranging from manslaughter to second-degree 'depraved-heart' murder.

    An official told CNN: 'If this case falls apart, then does Baltimore burn?'

    The charges against the officers came near the close of a turbulent week in which violence, looting and fires erupted in the streets April 27 only hours after Gray's funeral that Monday.

    Meanwhile, Baltimore's mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has asked the US Justice Department to investigate the case.

    The Democratic mayor now says she'll accept outside intervention to rebuild public trust in a city torn by riots over the death of Freddie Gray.
    'I am determined not to allow a small handful of bad actors to tarnish the reputation of the overwhelming majority of police officers who are acting with honor and distinction,' she wrote in a letter to the new U.S. attorney general, Loretta Lynch.

    HOW BALTIMORE STATE'S ATTORNEY MARILYN MOSBY FACES UPHILL BATTLE TO SECURE MURDER CONVICTION AGAINST OFFICERS IN FREDDIE GRAY CASE

    Two other high profile cases - Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York - resulted in no criminal charges against officers involved in their hideous deaths.
    This came despite there being video evidence in the case of Garner showing his brutal death and dozens of eyewitness accounts in Brown's death.
    Mosby does not have the benefit of a video capturing a decisive moment where lethal force was used such as the video showing a North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer shooting a fleeing Walter Scott multiple times in the back. 
    Example: This photograph from earlier in the week shows a Baltimore Police version of the van, similar to the one driven by Caesar Goodson but in order to win a conviction, city prosecutors will have to convince a jury that  Goodson acted so recklessly that he knew his actions could take Gray's life
    Example: This photograph from earlier in the week shows a Baltimore Police version of the van, similar to the one driven by Caesar Goodson but in order to win a conviction, city prosecutors will have to convince a jury that Goodson acted so recklessly that he knew his actions could take Gray's life
    Despite initial claims by authorities that the shooting was in self-defense, the officer was quickly charged with murder after the video was provided to the media.
    In the Gray case, the video evidence is much murkier, with no visual evidence the officers purposely beat him. 
    Expert witnesses are likely to disagree on whether Gray was seriously injured when the Baltimore officers pinned him to the sidewalk and cuffed his hands behind his back. 
    Gray was recorded asking for medical assistance as he was hefted into the waiting van, his feet dragging along behind him.
    In her statement of facts, Mosby alleged the officers later also bound Gray's feet together and placed him in the van face-down, rather than buckling him into a seat belt as required by departmental procedures. 
    That would have left Gray unable to brace himself as he slide around on the floor as the van traveled through Baltimore. 
    She also recounted the multiple stops made by the van, even after it likely became clear he was in distress. Nearly an hour passed before Gray received any medical attention.
    Journey: Freddie Gray died a week after his arrest on April 12 . He suffered a 'catastrophic' injury and died a week later in hospital. Caesar Goodson was at the wheel of the van in which he was put after the arrest
    Journey: Freddie Gray died a week after his arrest on April 12 . He suffered a 'catastrophic' injury and died a week later in hospital. Caesar Goodson was at the wheel of the van in which he was put after the arrest
    Route: According to police, these are the stops the van made while transporting Gray to the station
    Route: According to police, these are the stops the van made while transporting Gray to the station
    The prosecutor steered clear of specifically alleging Goodson took Gray on a 'Rough Ride,' the term commonly applied in Baltimore to the practice of the driver making quick stops and sharp turns so as to slam the prisoner around in the back of the van.
    Glenn Ivey, a defense attorney and the former chief prosecutor in Prince George's County, Maryland, said Mosby's prosecution would likely be considered successful if she were to secure any felony conviction against the officers that results in lengthy terms in prison. 
    Second-degree assault carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
    'Typically in police cases, if you get a conviction on almost any of the charges, it's viewed as successful, because police cases are hard to win,' he said.
    Adding: 'Even in Baltimore city, where juries tend to be skeptical of police officers, they can still make compelling defendants and persuasive witnesses.' 
    By bringing charges less than two weeks after Gray's death, Mosby, 35, said her decision showed 'no one is above the law.' 
    Yet, within hours, the city's police union questioned the prosecutor's impartiality, accusing her of a rush to judgment and demanding she excuse herself from the case.  
    Following the announcement of the charges, the prevailing mood on the city's streets changed to relief.
    But defense attorneys for the officers will likely use Mosby's own public statements about the case against her in requests that the venue for the trial be moved outside of Baltimore. 
    Though such changes of venue are relatively rare, there have been several examples of such motions being granted in cases that have garnered intense media coverage.
    This happens when local officials are deemed to have made public statements that could unfairly influence potential jurors. 

    1 comment:

    Shmarya groupie said...

    Why confuse the big picture with hair splitting legal issues? You have to understand the underlying causes of anger. Like the Reverend Jesse Jackson noted in the hespid for Freddie ztl, the inner city is surrounded by rich White Honkies.

    It's high time that the rich White folk share some of the wealth with disadvantaged people of color and anti-orthodox bloggers who are chained to the computer in their mother's basement.

    It's a good start that President Obama sends $2500 checks to anyone filing a tax return with zero (declared) income but there is a long way to go to re-engineer America.

    And then people like you wonder why Baltimore is burning.