Baltimore, MD - Baltimore police department has decided to discipline five of the six officers who had been charged in the Freddie Gray case, according to Justin Fenton with The Baltimore Sun.
Officer Caesar Goodson, Lt. Brian Rice, and Sgt Alicia White all face termination while Officer Edward Nero and Officer Garrett Miller face five day suspensions.
Officer William Porter, who State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby had attempted to charge with manslaughter, was determined to have not violated any policies and is not facing discipline.
Investigators from Montgomery County and Howard County conducted the internal investigations and determined that five of the six officers had violated policies. The investigators forwarded their reports to Police Commissioner Kevin Davis who decided the discipline the officers.
No details have been released about what policies each officer was alleged to have violated or what actions they took which were deemed to be a violation.
Each of the officers can accept the punishment or contest the charges before an "internal disciplinary panel," which is "internal" in name only, because they are open to the public.
After the in-custody death of Freddie Gray in April 2015, the six officers had been criminally charged in his death.
Issues with the prosecution of the six Baltimore officers were immediately apparent when charges were filed. After Freddie Gray’s death, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby alleged that Gray was arrested without probable cause, assaulted, and falsely accused of carrying an illegal switchblade..
Without waiting for an investigation to be completed, or reviewing all of the details of the case, she quickly brought charges on all officers involved in the arrest, and had them arrested when there was no apparent probable cause for their arrest.
The six officers had charges ranging from second-degree depraved-heart murder to manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office. The most severe charges centered around the officers failing to seatbelt Gray in the back of the transport van, which is likely the policy violation which Officer Caesar Goodson, Lt. Brian Rice, and Sgt Alicia White are set to be fired for.
The state's entire criminal case was built on the theory that officers could not assist each other with any part of an arrest without fully reviewing the other officer’s evidence and probable cause and making their own independent determination that the arrest was lawful. Impractical at any time, impossible with a violent or resisting suspect.
Lieutenant Rice, Officer Nero, and Officer Goodson were acquitted by a judge during bench trials last year. The remaining charges against Baltimore Police Officers Porter and Miller, and Sergeant White were then dropped by Mosby when it was obvious that she didn’t actually have a valid case against the officers.
Five of the six officers have filed a lawsuit against Marilyn Mosby and Assistant Sheriff Samuel Cogen for malicious prosecution. Cogen wrote the statements of probable cause against the officers at a time when no probable cause appeared to exist.
The latest discipline is unlikely to affect the civil case against Marilyn Mosby and Assistant Sheriff Samuel Cogen.
Do you think that these officers should be fired for not seat-belting a prisoner? We'd like to hear what you think. Please let us know in the comments.
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