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Baltimore officers charged with homicide

Baltimore officers charged with homicide

New York Times

BALTIMORE — Prosecutors here, in an unexpected announcement, said Friday they had probable cause to file homicide, manslaughter and misconduct charges against police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, who died after sustaining a spinal cord injury while in police custody.

In a news conference, the state’s attorney in Baltimore, Marilyn J. Mosby, described repeated mistreatment of Mr. Gray. Time and again, she said, officers abused him, arresting him without grounds and violating police procedure by putting him in handcuffs and leg restraints in the van without putting a seatbelt on him.

Posted by John B. Chilton


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Jean Lall

There is relief on the streets and in the living rooms of Baltimore as we see the process moving forward in a deliberate way. Yes, these officers are presumed innocent until and unless they are convicted, and their union has the duty to defend them (although, listening to the union’s official statements today, I had to wonder just how dumb they think citizens are!). The judicial process will take time — months or years — but I think there is a good chance that justice will be done. Meanwhile many of us in Baltimore are looking beyond the trial and the actions of the individual officers involved, hoping that there can be a thorough study of the local and national “culture of policing” and the expectations and training of police officers. One older officer was quoted as saying that when he first joined the force, the understanding was that arresting someone was a last resort. Over the years, changes have been made (which no doubt seemed like a good idea at the time) to arrest more people for minor infractions (the “zero tolerance” approach), and in some jurisdictions officers are expected, in effect, to meet a quota of arrests. This system needs thorough reform. Besides changing attitudes, policies, and performance expectations, we need to de-escalate the militarization of local police forces.

Keep praying for Baltimore!

JC Fisher

Will do! More prayers for Bal’mer: both Justice AND Peace.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Union busting isn’t the answer. Sheesh!

Philip Snyder

The police officers’ union is fighting the charges.

There are a couple of problems with police departments and bad cops. The first is the blue wall of silence where police don’t rat on other cops. The second is the union where, if a police officer is charged, the union works very hard to protect the officer – even if the officer is guilty or a dirty cop.

How do we reform these two problems? How do we get bad cops off the streets?

Anand Gnanadesikan

I don’t know that eliminating public employee unions solves the problems. Ulimately it just shifts the power to the management class. Which can be good at finding solutions to simple problems, or big problems where the solution is “high tech” and thus amenable to expert guidance. But in my experience the management class does a pretty lousy job with big problems where the solution is “high touch” (research, teaching, crime).

Jim Frodge

Please try to remember that as the State’s Attorney Mosby herself stated these six officers are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

Police officers have the same right to legal representation as any other citizen. In those departments where there is a union that the officers pay dues to the union has a fiduciary responsibility to represent them

Sarah Lawton

State’s Attorney Mosby was elected a few months ago through a community activist campaign. What a difference that can make.

Christopher Donald

Unfortunately camera’s are not a panacea as the officer in most cases has the ability to turn the camera off.

Philip Snyder

How would a Hillary Clinton Justice Department handle a Police Officer who had deleted the recording – judging it (himself) to not be germane to the arrest?

David Allen

I can’t believe that such a fantasy JD would have to be faced with such an issue. Individual officers shouldn’t be given that discretion. AFAIK, here in Seattle they aren’t.

But the issue comes up with regard to officers not turning the camera on. It seems that officers are given the discretion of whether the camera is on, allowing them to not video private situations, like using the restroom.

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