Thoughts on the criminal charges in the Freddie Gray case [Updated by John]

As John discussed below, the Baltimore State’s Attorney is bringing criminal charges against all six of the Baltimore police officers who were involved in the arrest and handling of Freddie Gray. I have a few observations about this story.

First, in the accounts I have have read, the race of the six officers charged — Caesar R. Goodson Jr. (who is charged with second-degree murder), Brian W. Rice, William G. Porter, Alicia D. White, Edward M. Nero, and Garrett E. Miller — is not disclosed.

Their race is, of course, immaterial to their guilt or innocence. However, it is relevant to any attempt to argue that the treatment of Freddie Gray was racially motivated. I’m guessing that some of the six officers are Black and that if all of them were White, this would have been reported.

Second, as John notes, the Fraternal Order of Police has expressed concern that the Baltimore State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, is married to Baltimore City Council member Nick Mosby. As I understand it, Nick Mosby represents a portion of West Baltimore where many African-Americans protested the treatment of Freddie Gray.

Arguably, the potential for a conflict of interest exists here. If Marilyn Mosby doesn’t throw the book at the six officers, might that not have an adverse effect on the political career of her husband?

I’m not taking a position on whether or not Marilyn Mosby should step aside in this matter. But I understand FOP’s concern.

Third, in announcing the charges against the six officers, Marilyn Mosby said:

To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America, I heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace.’ Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man, those that are angry or hurt or have their own experience of injustice.

This strikes me as an ill-advised comment. It suggests that Mosby may have been influenced by the desire to pacify protesters. I don’t say that she has been, but Mosby shouldn’t be making comments that allow anyone to assert this possibility. Absent political motivation, it would be smarter for Mosby not to say anything to “demonstrators.”

Finally, though it is important not to rush to judgment about this case, some sort of serious criminal prosecution may well be in order here. It appears that Gray died due to a severed spinal cord suffered while in police custody. Under these circumstances, there is plausibility to Mosby’s claim that her investigation revealed police misconduct that rises to the level of criminality. If that’s the case, then those who acted criminally must be punished.

To say more than this about the merits would be premature.

JOHN adds: Given that the whole point of this exercise is race, there has been surprisingly little information about the race of the police officers who were charged today. The photos I have seen of the arresting officers indicate, as I recall, that they were white. But the enterprising Steve Sailer has discerned that the officer who was charged with murder, Caesar R. Goodson Jr., is evidently African-American.

FURTHER UPDATE: It appears that three of the six police officers who were charged today are African-Americans.