BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Department of Justice will not bring charges against the officers involved in the Freddie Gray case due to insufficient evidence.
The police union says they are pleased with the DOJ, and say this is right move, and these officers should never have been charged in the first place.
But the decision doesn’t sit well with some in Gray’s west Baltimore neighborhood.
“We’re supposed to have had justice for Freddie Gray — a long time ago. There has been no justice,” says a Gilmor Homes resident, where Gray lived.
Now, five of those officers still face administrative trials after independent investigations found they broke internal police policies. Punishments will ultimately be up to the police commissioner.
“The officers are contesting those administrative charges in a trial board, and that’s their right,” says Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
The DOJ investigation began the day of Gray’s funeral, more than two and a half years ago. It was announced by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
“I have watched the police in this city, and I know that there are difficulties. I know that we have struggles. And we are here to help you work through those struggles, in the way that will hopefully be the best and most productive way for this department,” said Lynch back in 2015.
Under current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, police reform efforts have taken a backseat, and the chances federal prosecutors would prevail in criminal cases were slim.
“It can impact morale of the officers,” said AG Sessions.
Several Baltimore legislators, Congressmen Elijah Cummings, John Sarbanes, and Dutch Ruppersberger, as well as U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, released a statement on the DOJ’s decision:
“We are disappointed by reports that DOJ will not seek justice for Freddie Gray, but we are not surprised. We must now focus on ensuring that BPD has the resources it needs to implement the court-ordered consent decree and repair the sacred trust between police officers and the people they are sworn to protect.
“In order to improve BPD and reduce the violence in our city, Baltimore will need the support of the Trump Administration and DOJ. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has repeatedly stood in the way of our City’s progress by attempting to impede the implementation of the consent decree and holding hostage federal resources to reduce violent crime.
“In light of this reported decision, we are once again calling on DOJ to actively support—not undermine—the consent decree and to provide Baltimore with all federal resources available to improve our police force. Doing anything less would be unconscionable.”
Freddie Gray’s arrest and death happened in April 2015. That May, Mosby filed charges against the six officers. Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., Lt. Brian Rice, and officer Edward Nero were acquitted in bench trials and the charges against Sgt. Alicia White, officer Garrett Miller and officer William Porter were then dropped in July 2016.
“Way too long, and I think they need justice for Freddie Gray,” says West Baltimore resident Keisha Thomas.
Right now, officers Goodson, Rice and White face termination, while officers Miller and Nero face five-day suspensions.
“These officers do not face any criminal charges whatsoever. All those criminal matters are completely dropped,” says Davis.
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby points out that independent investigators from Howard and Montgomery Counties found that five of the officers violated police protocols. She says justice is worth the price paid for its pursuit.
The DOJ and the City of Baltimore are in a consent decree, mandating reforms to the police department.