Baltimore’s police union today condemned the news that internal charges are being brought against five of the six officers who were indicted and later acquitted (or had charges dropped) in Freddie Gray’s spring 2015 death, saying in a statement that “the only losers in this decision to continue persecuting these five officers are the citizens of Baltimore City.”
The Baltimore Sun first reported yesterday that all but one of the six officers involved in Freddie Gray’s April 12, 2015, death have been charged internally by the Baltimore Police Department. Three of them — Officer Caesar Goodson, Lt. Brian Rice and Sgt. Alicia White – could potentially be fired, while Officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller face five-day, non-paid suspensions. Officer William Porter isn’t being charged, according to the newspaper.
Porter’s trial was rescheduled after it ended in a hung jury in December 2015. Nero, Rice and Goodson were subsequently tried and acquitted by Circuit Judge Barry Williams for their roles in Gray’s death, which he sustained from injuries in the back of a police transport van driven by Goodson. City prosecutors then dropped all remaining charges against the group.
The internal charges came after an independent investigation of the officers’ conduct by the Howard and Montgomery County police departments. Police haven’t released the findings from the independent probe.
FOP Lodge 3 President Gene Ryan and the rest of the city police union dismissed the credibility of the internal charges in a statement today.
“The allegations against the six police officers have been thoroughly litigated time and time again. All of the evidence has been presented to multiple fact finders who have decided that these officers did nothing wrong,” the statement reads. “The administrative charges are nothing more than that – they are charges. We have no reason to believe that the results of a fair trial board will be any different than the result of all 27 of the criminal counts which uniformly rejected any wrongdoing on the part of the officers.”
As Ryan and the union noted, all five officers can request to go before a trial board to contest the charges and proposed disciplinary actions. Ultimately, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis will have the final word.
The union said in a statement that Baltimoreans should look beyond the internal charges and “be outraged at their leaders” for the spike in violence so far this year, as well as “all time low” rates for arrests and convictions.
“The administrative prosecution of the officers will do nothing more than perpetuate a police force hesitant to exercise judgment when interacting with the public,” the statement continues before concluding, “The only losers in the decision to continue persecuting these five officers are the citizens of Baltimore City.”
The police department has not commented publicly on the internal charges brought against the five officers.
Here’s the union’s statement in full:
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