Baltimore Cops Face Internal Trials in Gray Death

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Five officers facing internal discipline by the Baltimore Police Department in connection with the arrest and death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in 2015 will have public departmental trials this fall and winter, the Baltimore Sun reports. Three of them face termination — the most severe punishment now possible locally after city prosecutors failed to secure a single criminal conviction in the case. Officials have not announced findings in a separate federal investigation into Gray’s death. The administrative trial of officer Caesar Goodson Jr., the driver of the police van in which prosecutors said Gray suffered his fatal neck injuries, is scheduled for Oct. 30 to Nov. 3.

The specifics of the internal charges are not clear. Officers who are charged with internal infractions can accept recommended punishments or contest the charges before a trial board. All five chose trial boards. The panels, which consist of three police officers, can acquit the officers or uphold the charges. If the charges are upheld, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis would determine the punishments. A new state law made trial boards open to the public, but their outcomes remain secret. Davis said that a review of the officers’ actions by two outside police agencies found the officers had committed “several violations” of departmental policies. The discipline trials will provide them “the opportunity to address those findings,” he said. Tessa Hill-Aston, president of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP, is glad the officers are facing discipline. “The bottom line, like I’ve always said, is that Freddie is dead, and at the hands of the Police Department,” she said. “Someone should be held accountable, and if they couldn’t be held accountable in the court system, they should be held accountable internally.”

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