The Freddie Gray Case Concludes With No Convictions After the Remaining Charges Are Dropped

Six Baltimore police officers faced criminal charges of varying degrees for the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray last year, and the remaining charges were dropped by prosecutors Wednesday. This means not a single person was convicted for Gray’s death after he was loaded into a police van, shackled but not secured with a seatbelt, and died a week later from a severe spinal injury. The prosecutors dropped charges against Officer William Porter, who was awaiting a retrial after his first ended in a hung jury in December, and Officer Garrett Miller and Sergeant Alicia White, who never went to trial.

Wednesday’s hearing was supposed to be the start of Miller’s trial, but Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow told the judge the state would not continue forward, probably because of the slim chances than any of the remaining trials would lead to a conviction. “All of our clients are thrilled with what happened today,” Catherine Flynn, Miller’s attorney, told reporters outside the courthouse.

Officers Brian Rice, Edward Nero, and Caesar Goodson were all acquitted in bench trials earlier this year. Goodson, the driver of the van, faced the most severe charge of second-degree depraved-heart murder (the actual name in Maryland), but the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove he “gave or intended to give Mr. Gray a rough ride.” 

Officer Miller faced charges of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment. Sergeant White and Officer Porter faced charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment. However, none of them will go to jail for Gray’s death now.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby drew praise from Black Lives Matter activists when she announced the six officers would be charged last year, so the conclusion of the case with no one held criminally responsible for the man’s death comes has a huge blow to the movement against police brutality toward black men. The truth is, police officers are rarely convicted for deaths of civilians, as made clear by the Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice cases.

Despite the lack of convictions, Gray’s case drew more attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, especially in Baltimore, and highlighted the dangerous way black men are often treated by law enforcement even when guns aren’t involved. He wasn’t fatally shot by the cops, but he did die after an interaction with them.

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