The decision to drop charges against three Baltimore police officers means that no one will be held criminally responsible for the death of Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose neck was broken while he was unrestrained in the back of a police van in April 2015.
Prosecutors on Wednesday dropped all remaining charges against the three Baltimore police officers who were still awaiting trial in Freddie Gray’s death, blaming police for a biased investigation that failed to produce a single conviction.
Gray’s death added fuel to the growing Black Lives Matter movement, set off massive protests in the city and led to the worst riots that Baltimore had seen in decades.
The case also led the police department to overhaul its use-of-force policy. All officers will soon be equipped with body-worn cameras, and the U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation into allegations of widespread abuse and unlawful arrests by police. The results are expected soon. The officers also face an internal investigation.
Shortly after the announcement that charges would be dropped, a defiant State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby held a news conference, saying there was “a reluctance” and “an obvious bias” among some officers investigating Gray’s death.
“We do not believe Freddie Gray killed himself,” she said, standing in the neighborhood where Gray was arrested, a mural of him on a wall over her shoulder. “We stand by the medical examiner’s determination that Freddie Gray’s death was a homicide.”
She walked up to the podium as people chanted “we’re with you,” and her remarks were punctuated by shouts of support.
Gray’s mother, Gloria Darden, stood by Mosby, saying police lied. “I know they lied, and they killed him,” she said.
Officers sue prosecutor, claiming false charges
Attorneys for the officers said justice had been served and praised the police department’s thorough investigation. The officers have sued Mosby, saying she intentionally filed false charges against them.
“The comments made today about our officers by Ms. Mosby were outrageous and uncalled for and simply not true,” said Gene Ryan, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3.
Ivan Bates, an attorney for Sgt. Alicia White, said everyone wanted to know what happened to Gray.
“The Baltimore city police, they did the investigation and they said it was an accident,” he said. “The Baltimore state’s attorney had the opportunity to do an investigation and they did not. It is the Baltimore city state’s attorney’s office that denied justice to the Gray family and to these officers.”
Gray’s family received a $6.4 million settlement from the city.
Many feared that the acquittals could provoke more protests and unrest, but that never happened, and the streets appeared mostly calm Wednesday.
The Gray case never fit neatly into the narrative of white authorities imposing unfair justice on minorities. Three of the officers who were charged are white and three are black. The victim, judge, top prosecutor and mayor are all African-American. At the time of Gray’s death, so was the police chief.
Trump: Baltimore prosecutor is ‘a disgrace’
Donald Trump has called the Baltimore prosecutor “a disgrace.” Responding to a question at a news conference at his Florida golf course, Trump, known for demanding the return of “law and order,” said on Wednesday that Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby “should prosecute herself. She should be held accountable.”
Trump said, “I think it was disgraceful what she did. And the way she did it and the news conferences she had where, they were guilty before anybody even knew the facts.”
Supporters of the Black Lives Matter campaign have embraced Hillary Clinton as their preferred candidate. The Democratic National Convention Tuesday evening featured nine mothers whose children were victims of gun violence or taken into police custody.