Six Baltimore police officers have been indicted on substantially the same charges they already faced in connection with the death of Freddie Gray, who was fatally injured while being transported in a police van after being taken into custody.
Baltimore State's Atty. Marilyn Mosby announced Thursday that a grand jury had indicted the officers, who are currently free on bail. They are scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges July 2.
In general, the grand jury confirmed the charges Mosby filed May 1 against the officers, including the most serious one, the equivalent of second-degree murder, against the driver of the van. The new charges focused on how Gray was transported and treated while in custody.
Grand juries generally act at the behest of prosecutors, but there has been criticism that Mosby overcharged the officers and that she should have recused herself from the case because she received campaign contributions from a lawyer representing the Gray family. Mosby has rejected calls from the city police union that the case be turned over to a special prosecutor.
Gray's death last month touched off riots in Baltimore and led to the arrest of hundreds of protesters and the destruction of millions of dollars of property. Baltimore was under curfew for almost a week, with National Guard troops joining police from many jurisdictions in patrolling the streets.
Gray, a 25-year-old black man, was arrested April 12 in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of West Baltimore. He had made eye contact with an officer, then ran away with the cops in pursuit, according to police. Gray was apprehended two blocks away and arrested for possession of a knife that prosecutors later said was legal. The defendants have argued that the knife was illegal, while prosecutors in court papers have responded that the knife's legality didn't matter when compared with how Gray was treated after the arrest.
With his hands cuffed behind his back, Gray was taken by a police van that made four stops along the way. When the van arrived at the Western District police precinct, Gray was already injured and was taken to a hospital, where he spent a week in a coma and died.
Gray had asked for medical care while being transported, but none was provided, police said. Police also failed to put Gray in a seat belt to prevent him from being jostled in the van, as police policy required.
“On May 1, we had sufficient probable cause to charge the six police officers,” Mosby told reporters at a news conference. “As is often the case, during an ongoing investigation, charges can and should be revised based upon the evidence.”
Mosby did not explain what evidence prompted the revised charges, nor did she take questions. She did say the grand jury affirmed the most serious charge against the van driver, Officer Caesar Goodson, of second-degree “depraved heart” murder. He is also charged with manslaughter.
Nero and Miller were indicted on charges of second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. White, Rice and Porter are each charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
Gray's death became the symbol of tensions between poor blacks in West Baltimore and police. Demonstrations escalated for days until they exploded, leading Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a black Democrat, to join with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a white Republican, in seeking law enforcement help.
The Justice Department is investigating the death for possible violations of federal civil rights law and is examining practices of the Baltimore Police Department.