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Six Baltimore Cops Are Facing Criminal Charges Over the Death of Freddie Gray

Local state's attorney Marilyn Mosby said there was no legal basis for the 25-year-old's arrest in the first place.
Photo via Flickr user Maryland National Guard

The state's attorney of Baltimore on Friday said she had probable cause to pursue criminal charges against six cops over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.

Gray, who died in police custody on April 19 after being arrested a week earlier, was yelling for help before he was loaded into a police van. When he arrived at the station, he was unconscious. His subsequent death has sparked protests around the nation and a riot in Baltimore on Monday. As the state's attorney, Marilyn Mosby, announced her plans in a news conference, people cheered, the New York Times reports.

What's more, Mosby argued the officers didn't have probable cause to arrest Gray in the first place. Technically, when a person in a high-crime area takes off upon spotting police, the cops have the legal justification to pursue them. However, according to a charging document, he was arrested for carrying a spring-assisted knife. "The knife was not a switchblade, and it is lawful," Mosby said at the press conference. She added that by the time he was removed from the police van, "Mr. Gray was no longer breathing at all."

Warrants have been issued for officers Caesar R. Goodson Jr., William G. Porter, Lieutenant Brian W. Rice, Edward M. Nero, Garrett E. Miller, and Sergeant Alicia D. White. Goodson, the driver of the van, is charged with "depraved-heart murder," a legal term for second-degree murder that stems from the callous disregard for human life. It can be punished with up to 30 years in prison. All the officers have been charged with assault and misconduct.

On Thursday, Baltimore police completed an investigation into Gray's death. They also appeared to have leaked a document to the Washington Post suggesting Gray had—improbably—been trying to injure himself. His spinal cord was 80 percent severed, according to his attorney.

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