Tired of Waiting for the Courts, Students Get Their Own Measure of Justice for Freddie Gray
JAISAL NOOR, REPORTER: A year after Freddie Gray was killed at the hands of Baltimore police, his life, and the upheaval caused by death continues to be felt across Baltimore. The national spotlight focused on BaltimoreÂ’S apartheid-like inequity, a justice system that is often stacked against the cityÂ’s black majority and a police force many say operates with impunity. But one year later, the cityÂ’s youth question if anything has changed.
JENAE BURRELL, 11th Grader Baltimore City High School Student: Â“TheyÂ’ve been heard through media but I feel like nobody has taken the steps needed for change NOOR: Even though six officers were charged with GrayÂ’s death last May, not a single verdict has been returned in the case, leading many to question if justice will ever served. ThatÂ’s why Tim Freeze 10th grade Law and Community Justice class at Baltimore's Reginald F. Lewis High School decided to get a measure of justice in their own hands.
STUDENT: Please rise. The court of Reginald F. Lewis is now in session. NOOR: They put on a mock-trial for officer Caser Goodson, who drove the wagon where prosecutors say Gray suffered his fatal injury. He faces four charges, including second-degree depraved heart murder. The students prepared for months, going through hundrds pages of legal briefs, medical examiners reports and took the trial to the makeshift court made in their school. With a judge presiding, both the Prosecution gave opening statements, called witnesses, and cross examined on the stand They even had a recreation of the police wagon that Freddie Gray was placed in, to test defense argument that Gray injured himself.
STUDENT: Could you try and get up?
NOOR: 15 minutes after closing arguments the jury- made of University of Maryland law students, seniors, and the school psychologist returned to the courtroom and delivered this verdict.
STUDENT: We find the defendant guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
NOOR: The judge then sentenced the defendant. JUDGE: I hereby sentence you to ten years. Please take the defendant into custody. The court is adjourned. NOOR: We spoke to the some of the students involved. WeÂ’ve invited Mr. FreezeÂ’s entire 10th grade class to our studio next week.