This morning, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that she is bringing criminal charges against all six of the Baltimore police officers who were involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray. Ms. Mosby said that her office has been conducting its own investigation since the day after Gray’s death, and both her decision and the timing of her announcement are independent of any other agency.
Mosby is charging one of the defendants, the driver of the van, with second degree murder. Nothing in Mosby’s press conference or in the news accounts I have seen suggests evidence that the van driver or anyone else intended to kill Gray, so I assume that Maryland’s statute allows reckless indifference, or some such standard, as the basis for a second degree murder charge. Three of the other defendants are charged with involuntary manslaughter.
In her press conference, Mosby alleged that the officers’ arrest of Gray was unwarranted and illegal. Contrary to prior reports, she says Gray was not carrying a switchblade, but simply a legal knife.
Mosby has rejected calls for an independent prosecutor:
The Fraternal Order of Police asked Mosby to appoint an independent prosecutor in the case, citing her ties to the Gray family’s attorney, William Murphy, as well as her lead prosecutor’s connections to members of the local media. Murphy donated $5,000 to Mosby’s campaign and served on her transition committee. …
The FOP letter also expresses concerns regarding Mosby’s marriage to Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby. …
Mosby responded to that request by saying: “The people of Baltimore City elected me and there is no accountability with a special prosecutor.”
“I will prosecute any case within my jurisdiction,” she added.
Based on the facts as I understand them, I agree with her.
Arrest warrants have been issued for all six officers.
Mosby, just 35 years old, is an interesting figure. She is the daughter of police officers and won an upset victory over the incumbent state’s attorney in November. She has been in office for only three months.
UPDATE: There has been little comment on the race of the officers who have been charged, which seems odd given that coverage of the Baltimore riots has focused mostly on race. In any event, it appears that the officer who was charged with murder, Caesar R. Goodson Jr., is African-American.
FURTHER UPDATE: Apparently three of the six police officers who were charged today are African-Americans.