Baltimore Officers To Portray Freddie Gray Death As Accident, Not Crime


The six Baltimore police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray are contesting some of the most serious accusations, as well as at procedural issues, reports the New York Times. Their lawyers say that prosecutor Marilyn Mosby was so tainted by conflicts of interest that she could not have fairly judged the merits of the case. They argue that she misread the law in charging that Gray's arrest for carrying an illegal knife was without foundation. Mosby says the officers illegally arrested and shackled Gray, flouting police rules and standards of decency in loading him into a police van without required safety restraints and ignoring his pleas for help during an extended ride.

Lawyers for some officers and others familiar with the defense strategy paint a vastly different picture. They say the officers were acting by the book, and they had no cause to believe the arrest would cost Gray his life. The officers’ defenders say Gray was treated no differently from thousands of other people who have been arrested or detained. His death, the lawyers argue, was not the result of police brutality or even indifference to his safety but of a tragic accident. “Police officers would say they are just doing what they are being told to do in a city with a long history of crime problems,” said Sgt. Robert Cherry, a 21-year veteran officer and the former president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, which represents Baltimore police officers. “These officers definitely did not do anything wrong criminally.” Some criminal defense lawyers say Mosby's case may be too hastily prepared, and her charges too ambitious, to weather a trial. (The Baltimore Sun reports that prosecutors called the defense arguments to remove Mosby “illogical, unsupported, frivolous, and unprecedented.”)

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