BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Joining a panel discussion hosted by D.C. radio station WPGC Monday via phone, Freddie Gray family attorney Billy Murphy said one way to fix what he sees as a broken police force in Baltimore is to replace the “old white guys that are racist to the core.”
The “Yo Listen Up” event was held in the wake of the deadly shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police in Louisiana and Minnesota last week, and the ambush that left five police officers dead at a Black Lives Matter march in Dallas.
Murphy was asked by one of the DJ hosts of the event why it’s been so hard to get convictions in the trials of the police officers charged in relation to the death of Freddie Gray.
So far, two of the six officers — both of whom chose to be tried by a judge rather than a jury — have been fully acquitted by Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams.
“The first reason is that the police are investigating themselves,” Murphy said. “And so you cannot rely on the integrity of those investigations, as the prosecution is forced to do. And so, routinely, police officers get up and testify in a way that sabotages a good case.”
Another reason, he went on to say, is “it’s hard to win cases that are based largely on circumstantial evidence.”
In the Gray case, “there’s no camera in the back of the van,” Murphy said. “And so nobody knows for sure what happened in the back of that van except that Freddie got a tragic injury that resulted in him having torn 80 percent of his spinal cord.”
DJ Flexx went on to ask Murphy “how can we fix this?”
“I believe that the essential personnel in the Baltimore City police force — the old white guys that are racist to the core, not that all whites are racist … they got to be replaced,” Murphy said.
“You see, when a new commissioner comes in, he ends up having to rely on these middle management type police officers who have been there for years. The ones from Dundalk, and Essex and South East Baltimore and Curtis Bay and Brooklyn, we know all the racist neighborhoods. And they bring their racism with them and are joining a racist police conscience.”
He pointed to an example of a complete police department overhaul in Camden, New Jersey. In 2013, the Camden County Metropolitan Police Department was formed, and took over law enforcement duties for the city police force.
“And guess what?” he said. “It worked. They have a much better police department in almost every way. Because, instead of having these old racists in the department like we do in Baltimore, they were able to screen these people using sophisticated physiological tests… We need to be looking at solutions significantly more radical than the ones that we have.”
Murphy also talked about the importance of body cameras, which the Baltimore Police Department has implemented, and says it would be “common sense” to show the trials of the officers charged in the Gray case on television so people could form their own opinions.
He said he wasn’t prepared to criticize State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby or her prosecutors, and that no one else should either, “except for the 150 people who saw that trial from end to end.”
Murphy also commented on the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole, and the Dallas shooting.
Watch the full interaction below: