The officers involved in Freddie Gray’s death mostly avoided any legal ramifications after a string of acquittals and mistrials during 2015 and 2016. This lost opportunity for justice was seen as a major hit to the cause of police reform. However, new developments may prove to make sure they don’t walk away completely unscathed.
The Baltimore Sun reports that five Baltimore police officers are due to face internal discipline from the department. Three could be fired.
The three officers facing potential termination are Officer Caesar Goodson, and supervisors Lt. Brian Rice and Sgt. Alicia White. Goodson was driving the vehicle officers used in Gray’s death. They dealt fatal injuries after not being properly restraining him on what was called a “rough ride”. Officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller potentially face a five day suspension without pay.
All of the previously listed officers will go before a internal disciplinary board, referred to as a “trial board,” if they don’t accept the charges brought against them. This board will have the power to determine whether or not the officers will be disciplined for “violations of policy and procedure.” The police commissioner then gets the final say on the punishment.
“This case has always been about providing justice for an innocent 25-year-old man who was unreasonably taken into police custody, severely injured while in police custody, and died due to a lack of care,” said Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “If today’s news is accurate, I am relieved to know that a majority of those involved will be held administratively accountable for their actions.”
Mosby fell under harsh criticism after bringing charges against the officers and not being able to convict a single one. Tensions came to a head when she was on the receiving end of several death threats.
The disciplinary actions were taken after Montgomery and Howard county police departments turned in the findings from their own investigation into Gray’s death. They were chose to avoid a conflict of interest.
This legal saga began after Gray was arrested in 2015 and died from fatal spinal injuries he suffered while in police custody. It was suspected that officers gave him a “rough ride” by placing him in the back of a transport van with nothing to secure him besides the handcuffs that held his hands behind his back.
His death sparked outrage in the community as it made citizens feels as if their lives could easily be put at risk by those meant to protect and serve them.