Now that the charges against the Baltimore police officers still awaiting trial in the death of Freddie Gray have been dismissed, the spotlight is now on the defamation lawsuits five of the six officers have filed against Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
Mosby announced on Wednesday that Officer Garrett Miller and Officer Alicia White would not have to go through the same grueling trial and publicity process as Officers Edward Nero, Caesar Goodson, William Porter, and Lt. Brian Rice at all. Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby explained what led to her decision to drop the remaining cases, reports CNS News.
“In these cases, my prosecutors presented a great deal of evidence to support the charges alleged, and although we came close to convicting one of the officers when his case was tried before 12 Baltimore city residents, the judge, who is within his right, has made it clear that he doesn’t agree with the state’s theory of the case and does not believe that any of the actions or inactions of these officers rise to the level of criminality.”
The judge she is speaking of is Judge Barry Williams, who presided over the bench trials of Officer Nero, Officer Goodson, and Lt. Rice. Had Officer Porter opted for a bench trial as the others did, his case would have been found not guilty instead of getting a hung jury. WAMU 88.5 reports that Judge Barry Williams has traveled around the country prosecuting police misconduct, but the state did not prove their case to his satisfaction. He saw no evidence of a rough ride and no camera was inside the van, so there is no way to figure out what happened inside of it, no one knows how or when Freddie Gray was injured, and although prisoners are supposed to be secured inside the van, it is not mandated. The fact that no one opted not to secure a constrained prisoner is something that would be handled internally and not in the justice system.
“The court’s imaginings do not serve as a substitute for evidence.”
Marilyn Mosby took no questions after announcing the dismissal of remaining charges because of the pending lawsuits against her for false arrest, false imprisonment, defamation, and a host of other charges that were filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland. The charges against Mosby were filed last year in late April and early May coinciding with the timeframe that the plaintiffs Garrett Miller, Edward Nero, and William Porter, Sgt. Alicia White, and Lt. Brian Rice, were arrested. Maj. Samuel Cogen, who filed charging documents against the officers, is also being sued. The litigants are asking for $75,000 per allegation, plus legal costs, according to CNN.
Freddie Gray’s death sparked a series of violent protests and raised a much-needed conversation about race, police brutality, and holding officers accountable for a series of African-American deaths, primarily men, allegedly murdered unnecessarily with no justice for the families. When Marilyn Mosby announced shortly after Gray’s death that the officers involved with his arrest and transport to the police station were going to be prosecuted, it drew immediate questions about her motives because it had never been done before.
Many critics believe that Mosby’s move to prosecute was a rush to judgment and politically motivated done to quiet the rising protests. Mosby defended her decision to prosecute the officers based on the medical examiner’s report and an independent investigation. The problem, say her critics, is that she overcharged the officers and raised the communities’ hope and expectation that there would be justice for Freddie Gray’s unexplained death. However, there are many in the community who believe the criminal justice system is corrupt and the acquittals were the reality all along.
In bypassing a grand jury and finding probable cause on her own, and then blaming the judge, the criminal justice system, and proclaiming that Baltimore’s police department lacked community oversight, her ambitions, and rookie mistakes may have killed the case before it began.
The verdict regarding who is responsible for the April 19, 2015, homicide of Freddie Gray is that no one will ever be held accountable and the career of Marilyn Mosby is in jeopardy.
[Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]