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Prosecutor urges calm after police charged in Freddie Gray’s death

Six Baltimore police officers were charged in the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a broken neck after being arrested last month. The various charges of murder, manslaughter and assault are based on an independent investigation, which detailed the timeline of events and found the switch blade Gray was arrested for was not illegal. Judy Woodruff reports.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    State’s attorney Marilyn Mosby was grim-faced as she emerged from Baltimore’s landmark War Memorial building.

  • MARILYN MOSBY:

    The findings of our comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation coupled with the medical examiners determination that Mr. Gray’s death was a homicide, which we received today has led us to believe that we have probable cause to file criminal charges.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In all, she said, six police officers will have to answer for their actions in the death of Freddie Gray.

  • MARILYN MOSBY:

    I assured his family that no one is above the law and that I would pursue justice on their behalf.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Mosby said there was no justification for gray’s arrest in the first place — and that his knife was not an illegal switchblade, as police had claimed.

    She laid out a detailed time-line of the events of April 12th.

    According to Mosby, Gray first ran from police at the intersection of Baltimore’s north avenue and Mount Street.

    A few blocks away, he surrendered and was handcuffed, his complaints he could not breathe, ignored.  Next he was loaded into a transport van, where Mosby said officers did nothing to keep him from being thrown around.

  • MARILYN MOSBY:

    At no point was he secured by the seat belt while the wagon contrary to a BDP general order.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    At the first stop, officers put gray in so-called flex cuffs and leg shackles, but again, no seat belt.  Mosby said that’s when the crucial moment came.

  • MARILYN MOSBY:

    Following transport from Baker Street, Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD police wagon.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Then, at Mosher Street and Fremont avenue, Mosby said, the van’s driver checked on gray, but ignored his pleas for medical aid.

    Again, at Dolphin Street and Druid Hill avenue, two officers did nothing for gray — according to investigators — even though he kept saying he could not breathe.

  • MARILYN MOSBY:

    Despite Mr. Gray’s appeals for a medic, both officers assessed Mr. Gray’s condition and at no point did either of them restrain Mr. Gray per BPD general order, nor did they render or request medical assistance.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The van was then called to pick up a second prisoner. By that point, Gray was unresponsive, but, the prosecutor said.

  • MARILYN MOSBY:

    Despite Mr. Gray’s seriously deteriorating medical condition, no medical assistance was rendered or summoned for Mr. Gray at that time by any officer.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    When the van finally arrived at Baltimore’s Western District Police Station, Gray’s condition had worsened, significantly.

  • MARILYN MOSBY:

    Mr. Gray was no longer breathing at all. A medic was finally called to the scene where upon arrival a medic determined that Mr. Gray was now in cardiac arrest and was critically and severely injured.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Gray was rushed to a local hospital for surgery. He died one week later.

    The case touched off days of protests demanding the officers be prosecuted. Mosby’s response today followed an investigation by police — and a separate probe by her own office.

    Alone among the six, the driver of the van — Officer Ceasar Goodson — was charged with second degree murder. He’s also accused of manslaughter and other crimes.

    Lieutenant Brian Rice is accused of manslaughter, along with assault, misconduct and false imprisonment.

    Officer William Porter and Sergeant Alicia White face similar counts as do officers Edward Nero and Garret Miller – involved in Gray’s initial arrest. But they escaped manslaughter charges,

    Gray’s family welcomed the announcement.

  • RICHARD SHIPLEY:

    We are satisfied with today’s charges. These charges are an important step in getting justice for Freddie.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The Baltimore Police Union said the six officers charged were not responsible for Gray’s death.

  • MIKE DAVEY, Attorney, Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3:

     We believe that the actions taken today by the state’s attorney are an egregious rush to judgment, and we have grave concerns about the fairness and integrity of the prosecution of our officers.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    While Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she was “sickened” by the findings…

  • MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, Baltimore:

    To those of you who wish to engage in brutality, misconduct, racism and corruption, let me be clear. There is no place in the Baltimore City Police Department for you.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And, at the White House, President Obama called for justice to be served.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    It is absolutely vital that the truth comes out on what happened to Mr. Freddie Gray.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    on the street, most people welcomed the announcement of charges, in the wake of Monday’s riots and the deployment of the National Guard.

  • WOMAN:

    Oh I’m feeling amazing, today is a vast differences from what we saw on Monday. Today’s there’s celebrating the news that came down from Marilyn Mosby and we’re really proud of her.

  • MAN:

    I’m relieved that some justice had come out of this situation because it was going to get crazy because we’re tired.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Mosby addressed those hopes and fears in her statement today, and called for the city to stay calm…

  • MARILYN MOSBY:

    I urge you to channel the energy peacefully as we prosecute this case. I have heard your calls for “no justice, no peace.” however, your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of Freddie Gray.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Meanwhile, crowds gathered again this afternoon, and organizers said a Saturday protest will now be a victory rally.

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