January 22, 2018
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Justice Department Will Not Charge Officers Over Killing of Freddie Gray

"We know that spines do not break without cause," said the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in response to the news.

by Jake Johnson

The Department of Justice said on Tuesday that it will not bring federal charges against the six police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray.

AP reports:

The officers were charged by [Maryland] state prosecutors after Gray's neck was broken in the back of a police transport wagon in April of 2015. The 25-year-old was handcuffed and shackled at the time, but he was unrestrained by a seat belt.

Three officers were acquitted at trial. Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped the remaining state cases.

The Gray family's attorney, Billy Murphy, says the Justice Department informed him on Tuesday that no charges would be filed.

Five officers face internal disciplinary trials, scheduled to begin Oct. 30.

The investigation into Gray's death has been ongoing since 2015.

A report released by the Justice Department last year in the aftermath of Gray's death foundthat the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) "routinely conducted unlawful stops and used excessive force, disproportionately targeting black residents."

In a statement on Tuesday reacting to the news, Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said: "We know that spines do not break without cause, and the DOJ and BPD's credibility to make change a reality in Baltimore hinges not just on their ability to institute much needed reforms to police training, policies, and practices, but also on their success in bringing to justice officers who abuse their power and take the lives of innocent residents."

"The onus is now on the BPD to hold these officers accountable at their disciplinary trials this fall and winter," Ifill concluded. "Baltimore will be watching."

Originally appeared at Commondreams.org

Photo: Arash Azizzada/Flickr/CC