A grand jury on Thursday indicted all six Baltimore officers charged in the case of Freddie Gray, who died of injuries he suffered in police custody, allowing the state's attorney to press ahead with the most serious charges despite criticism that she was part of an “overzealous prosecution.”
The charges returned by the grand jury were similar to the charges Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced three weeks ago.
Some of the officers were initially charged with false imprisonment, but those charges have been dropped. All of the officers are now charged with reckless endangerment, which does not appear to have been on the original list of charges from May 1, in addition to other various charges.
The most serious charge for each officer, ranging from second-degree “depraved heart” murder to assault, still stand. Mosby said prosecutors had presented evidence to the grand jury for the past two weeks. Some of the charges were changed based on new information.
“As is often the case, during an ongoing investigation, charges can and should be revised based upon the evidence,” Mosby said during a press conference.
Officer Caesar Goodson, Jr., who drove the transport van, faces the most serious charges, including second-degree depraved heart murder and involuntary manslaughter. Officer William Porter, Lt. Brian Rice and Sgt. Alicia White also each received an involuntary manslaughter charge among other charges.
Officers Edward Nero and Garret Miller were charged with second-degree intentional assault, misconduct in office for an illegal arrest, and misconduct in office for failing to perform a duty regarding the safety of a prisoner.
Now that the grand jury has found probable cause, the officers are scheduled to be arraigned on July 2, Mosby said.
Mosby has said Gray's neck was broken because he was injured while being handcuffed, shackled and placed head first into a police van. Gary’s pleas for medical attention were repeatedly ignored, she said.
Gray died on April 19, one week after he was injured. His death sparked protests in Baltimore that, on at least two occasions, gave way to violence, looting and arson. In the wake of the protests, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake implemented a citywide curfew and Republican Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency.
Gray was arrested in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of West Baltimore. According to court documents, Gray made eye contact with a police officer and took off running. He was apprehended two blocks away and arrested for possession of a knife. Mosby later said the arrest was unlawful because the knife is legal under state law.
None of the officers secured Gray's seatbelt in the van, a violation of police policy. Soon after he was placed in the van, Goodson stopped to secure him with leg irons because he had become “irate,” police said.
After a ride that included several more stops, including one to pick up a second passenger, the van arrived at the Western District station house. By that time, Gray was non-responsive.
Al Jazeera and wire services