A Few Words on Freddie Gray

mm1z~s600x600http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/01/us/freddie-gray-police-charges/index.html

Marilyn Mosby, State’s Attorney for the City of Baltimore, is pictured above during her announcement for running for the State’s Attorney position.  Today, she charged six Baltimore city officers with a string of offenses to include second degree murder in the case of the killing of Freddie Gray.

If the total evidence shows what she has concluded, then I don’t have a problem with this at all.  Unfortunately, if she reached the nebulous level of probable cause to warrant charges, I think she just barely did so meaning that with the information available she is still a far way from the “beyond a reasonable doubt” requirement for a trial.  I say that, not because I don’t think that Freddie Gray was killed, but simply because of the lack of facts that are available at this time as it pertains to:

1.) How Freddie Gray was killed.

2.) Who was directly responsible for killing him and at what point.

The fact that he died days after the incident is also problematic for her attempt at filing manslaughter related charges on the remaining officers for their various roles in the incident.  Mrs. Mosby has made it clear that she believes due to the medical examiner’s report that Freddie Gray’s neck was injured due to being placed in the back of the conveyance vehicle without restraint.  If true there is no question that the driver and anyone else in the vehicle would be guilty of second degree murder if done so willfully.

In reference to the felonious restraint charge, a suspect running, by itself, is not cause for a detention.  However, you only need a standard of reasonable suspicion to justify an investigative detention, and once that minor standard is reached, should someone flee from you, they are giving you probable cause of some variation of a “resisting a lawful detention/arrest” charge.  If the arresting officers had articulable reasonable suspicion to justify the stop, I’m sure we would have already heard it.

Furthermore, I’m a little hesitant to accept the medical examiner’s conclusion about the cause of death, after what happened with the Eric Garner case.  There was so much fanfare about the lack of restraint in the back of the van leading up to this announcement similar to the calls about the “choke hold” in Staten Island.  In the Eric Garner case the medical examiner stated that the cause of death was a homicide due to choke hold but went on to contradict himself by saying that there was no trauma whatsoever to Eric Garner’s neck.  If there was no trauma to the neck then the choke (if it was a choke) would have to have been against Garner’s carotid arteries which results in unconsciousness in seconds.  This didn’t happen as evidenced from the video.

My point is that in that case I think the medical examiner was speaking out of turn by declaring how something happened as opposed to saying that it was injuries consistent with something.  For example, the likely cause of death in Eric Garner was positional asphyxiation when all of the officers piled onto his back which is also consistent with his injuries.  However, everyone, the medical examiner included evidently, was so committed to the story about the use of an “illegal technique” or “illegal choke hold” as if it was some type of mystical Kung Fu touch-of-death, that they missed the real cause and it effectively killed the case.  This rush to cover that narrative resulted in the focus being on the choke hold officer, leaving plenty of room to doubt the charges as accused.

If someone kills another with a knife, reasonable doubt is provided when they’re charged with killing that same person with a gun.

Ironically, the rush to judgement prevented charges against all of those directly involved in killing Garner because the community was far too focused on what they believed happened as opposed to what really factually happened.  In this case, I think Mosby might be jumping the gun by assuming that Gray died as a result of not being seat belted in.

With the physical evidence available, it’s also entirely possible for Gray to have suffered his injuries if pushed while running and striking his neck against the curb as he fell.  This would explain the trauma to his throat as the probable point of impact as well as reciprocal spine injuries as his head was forced backward.  It’s also possible that he was beaten after they pulled over repeatedly, including the one stop in particular that the officers involved all willfully failed to mention.

For the record, I reject the rumors going around that Gray somehow broke his own neck.  People, particular when drugs and alcohol are involved, will sometimes do stupid things when in custody that can injure themselves, but not to the point Gray was injured.

I’m willing to give Maryiln Mosby the benefit of the doubt.  It should be noted that both of her parents were policemen so I think an anti-police bias can be ruled out.  However, I hope she has more evidence than is available for the conclusions she’s already drawing.  If her actions are simply motivated by a hope for peace from these charges, but there is not enough evidence for convictions, then the city will likely burn worse after all the time and fanfare associated with the trial process only to have an acquittal returned.

WS

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4 thoughts on “A Few Words on Freddie Gray

  1. My gut says that Maryiln Mosby is being a politician, here, and that it may backfire on her big time. I am admittedly biased against her because she was broken hearted when Darren Wilson was not indicted; I should think anyone who looks at the Grand Jury evidence would recognize that’s the right call, but she seems to think McCulloch soft-pedaled things and faked the jury out, and that a better prosecutor would have brought the case to trial.

    OTOH, there’s some speculation that the recently discovered film footage of the stop the cops had not reported must be pretty damning, and that’s why Ms. Mosby has named specific charges, which is certainly possible. Still, while I follow Chicago issues more closely, my impression is that Baltimore is Chicago East — not just the city but the state has a high rate of corruption, and, not surprisingly, that corruption cycles through the police force right regularly. However, that corrupt environment is evidence against Mosby just as it is against the cops. She may be newly elected to this position, but she was Assistant At tourney General for Maryland from 2005 to 2012.

    I’d be surprised if the cops weren’t guilty of at least negligence (although apparently cops can’t be charged with neglect sort of things in Maryland-?). But I have my doubts that Maryiln Mosby is going to be able to make the charges she’s just listed stick, and if she doesn’t, there are going to be a lot of angry people.

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  2. I took the impression that she led with all these charges to cover her bases. I imagine in court they will be negotiated too much less severe charges in trial

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