The six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray in 2015 will not face federal civil rights charges, as confirmed by the Justice Department on Tuesday (September 12).
In a lengthy, nine-page detailed statement, the department stated that the officials determined that “the evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that the officers “willfully” violated” Gray’s civil rights.
“Accordingly, the investigation into this incident has been closed without prosecution,” the statement continued.
On April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department for the alleged possession of an illegal switchblade. While being transported in a police van, Gray fell into a coma and ended up with 80 percent of his spine severed from his neck, a broken vertebra and an injured voice box. He died seven days later.
This event set off riots in the city of Baltimore, as protestors and police clashed, not only because of Freddie Gray’s hospitalization and subsequent death, but due to years of social and economic neglect by all levels of government and corporate interests, as well as constant unchecked police brutality.
Three of the arresting officers were acquitted and charges against the three others were dropped. Five of the officers still face police department disciplinary hearings set for the end of October.
In the aftermath of Gray’s death, the city witnessed the firing of then-police Commissioner Anthony Batts and the launch of an investigation of the Baltimore Police Department by the DOJ. According to a report released last year, the department found that the “BPD makes stops, searches and arrests without the required justification; uses enforcement strategies that unlawfully subject African Americans to disproportionate rates of stops, searches and arrests; uses excessive force; and retaliates against individuals for their constitutionally-protected expression.” This finding has since led to the department and city agreeing to a court-enforceable settlement that would reform the biased policing uncovered in the investigation.
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