*In a gut wrenching bookend to the events set in motion by the tragic death of Freddie Gray in April 2015, the Department of Justice has decided not to press Federal charges against any of the six Baltimore Police Officers involved in the 25-year olds death. In a statement released this past Tuesday, the DOJ said:
“After an extensive review of this tragic event, conducted by career prosecutors and investigators, the Justice Department concluded that the evidence is insufficient”
With Baltimore prosecutors dropping all charges against the officers last July, the announcement effectively marks the end of the criminal investigation in the matter.
Gray’s death came as a result of spinal cord injuries he had sustained after being pursued by the police for possessing an illegal switchblade.
Gray had been handcuffed, and was being transported in the back of a police car without a secured seatbelt when the accident allegedly occurred. Shortly after Gray’s death, Baltimore State Attorney, Marilyn J. Mosby had pointed to the gross negligence of the officers as a main contributing factor to Gray’s death, stating that the driver had given Gray a “rough ride”.
The aftermath of Gray’s death saw protests, rioting and looting break out across the predominantly black city, as anger swelled over police brutality and racism. Now, 2 years later, it seems that Gray’s family can finally move on from grievous wounds inflicted by his death. Speaking to reporters, attorney to the family, Hassan Murphy, spoke about the disappointment the family felt at the DOJ’s decision.
“They are disappointed that no one will be held accountable for their son’s tragic death, which occurred while in police custody… This is a bitter pill for all of us to swallow. It is the end of a chapter, and it is a sad and tragic chapter”
However, Murphy admitted that after speaking to the DOJ and learning of the process with which the decision had been taken; that both he and the family had come away with some measure of acceptance regarding the investigation.
“We have to admit that we left satisfied with the investigation undertaken by this particular group of lawyers at the Department of Justice, most of, or all of them, holdovers from the Obama administration, and they were frank and forthright about the things they had done and the steps they had taken in this investigation.”
All officers involved in the case are still employed with the Baltimore Police Department. But internal disciplinary hearings for 5 of them are scheduled for October 30.