All charges dismissed against police in Freddie Gray case Those remaining will walk before seeing courtroom

According to the state of Maryland, Freddie Gray deserved to die for looking at a police officer a certain way.

If you want a basic explanation of how white privilege, police brutality and injustice work, look no further than Gray’s case. An officer didn’t care for the look Gray gave him. So he initiated an arrest, illegally, mind you, and threw him in the back of a police van. There, no one bothered to secure him to anything while in the van. He sustained an injury, then died. The medical examiner ruled it a homicide. The city paid off his family. Then, multiple officers walked, before all charges were eventually dismissed Wednesday.

The development marked the end of what’s been an interesting rise and fall for Marilyn Mosby, state’s attorney for Baltimore City. She came out with force last year when she made clear her intentions to charge the six officers involved. Now that she’s clashed with both protestors of the police and law enforcement as well, she’s in a tough spot politically. But that didn’t stop her from taking on a borderline preacher-like tone when she addressed the media Wednesday.

Standing in front of the mural dedicated to Gray in Baltimore where he lived — and his father, wearing a green New York Jets hats and matching dashiki, by her side — Mosby spoke for 15 minutes about what she considered to be the obvious injustice in the outcome.

“Baltimore finds itself at the epicenter of a national conflict between urban and rural populations of color and the law enforcement agencies that are sworn to protect and serve them,” she said. “It is a struggle that strikes at the basic ideas of self-determination, justice, equality and sadly, humanity in America.”

She then proceeded to call the Baltimore Police Department out for seemingly doing everything it could to prevent the state from ever building a case against one of their own. In effect, Mosby described exactly how the “blue wall” works in practice, rather than concept.

“As the world has witnessed over the past 14 months, the prosecution of on-duty police officers in this country is unsurprisingly rare and blatantly fraught with systemic and inherent complications. Unlike with other cases, where prosecutors work closely with the police to investigate what actually occurred, what we realized very early on in this case was that police investigating police, whether they’re friends or merely their colleagues, was problematic,” she said. “There was a reluctance and an obvious bias that was consistently exemplified, not by the entire Baltimore Police Department, but by individuals within the Baltimore Police Department at every stage of the investigation, which became blatantly apparent in the subsequent trials. Although Commissioner [Kevin] Davis was and has been extremely accommodating, there were individual police officers that were witnesses to the case, yet were part of the investigative team. Interrogations that were conducted without asking the most poignant questions. Lead detectives that were completely uncooperative and started a counter investigation to disprove the state’s case.”

Mosby grew up in a law enforcement family and her husband happens to be a city council member. More importantly, as an elected official in Baltimore, her role as someone that’s taken an oath to protect all citizens is one she takes extremely seriously. Yet, there are people who want her disbarred for how she’s handled this case.

She ended her news conference not with questions (as there is pending litigation involving lawsuits from the officers) but with a concession that there are lessons to be learned from Gray, courtroom decisions aside. As Mosby sees it, a corrupt system will beget unjust rulings, but if you can nip the problematic interactions in the bud, things will never get this far, so senselessly.

“Never again should there be a question as to why someone is being stopped, detained or arrested, due to the fact that there will now soon be full implementation of body-worn cameras on all officers. Never again should someone be placed unsecured and defenseless in a metal wagon, head first, feet shackled and handcuffed, due to the fact that officers are now required to secure and seatbelt all prisoners,” she said, her voice rising each time she repeated the refrain. “Never again should there be a need to rely on circumstantial evidence to observe what takes place inside police wagons, due to the fact that cameras are now equipped in every one of them. Never again should an officer ignore or neglect a prisoner’s request for medical attention to no avail, due to the fact that it is now mandatory for officers to call a medic when requested. Never again should a commanding officer or a rank and file officer be able to assert that they are unaware of departmental policies general orders or procedures due to the fact that there is now a software verification and accountability system to ensure their adherence. Never again should an officer exhibit a blatant or reckless disregard for human life, due to the fact that there are now use-of-force policies that emphasize the sanctity of life, accentuates de-escalation and requires that officers intervene if fellow officers cross the line.”

Alas. Never say never.

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