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Baltimore police officers charged in Freddie Gray death released on bail

Six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray have been released on bonds of between $250,000 and $350,000, according to court documents on Friday.

'No one is above the law': Prosecutor lays 2nd-degree murder, manslaughter, assault charges

This photo provided by the Baltimore Police Department on Friday shows, top row from left, Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller and Edward M. Nero, and bottom row from left, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice and Alicia D. White, the six police officers charged with offences ranging from assault to murder in the death of Freddie Gray. (Baltimore Police Department/Associated Press)

Six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray have been released on bonds of between $250,000 and $350,000, according to court documents on Friday.

The six had turned themselves in at the city jail Friday afternoon after the city's chief prosecutor announced charges against them.

They were released as Baltimore entered a 10 p.m. curfew.

Live television coverage of the remains of a protest at City Hall just after the curfew went into effect showed a line of police, carrying shields, move in and take several people away. In a series of tweets, Baltimore police said the protesters remained at War Memorial Plaza "in violation of the curfew," had been warned and that officers were arresting protesters who refused to leave.

Earlier, state's attorney Marilyn Mosby charged the officers with offences ranging from assault to murder in Gray's arrest and fatal spine injury while in police custody. The decision comes amid several weeks of public outrage — in Baltimore and around the U.S. — over Gray's death and police brutality against blacks.

The six officers charged are:

  • Officer Caesar R. Goodson, Jr.
  • Officer Garrett E. Miller
  • Officer William G. Porter
  • Officer Edward M. Nero
  • Lt. Brian W. Rice
  • Sgt. Alicia D. White

The family of Freddie Gray is "satisfied" with the charges by Mosby.

Gray's stepfather, Richard Shipley, said during a press conference on Friday afternoon that the charges were the first step in getting justice for Gray. 
Gloria Darden, mother of Freddie Gray, right, sits with family members as their lawyer speaks at a news conference in Baltimore, Maryland on Friday. The charges are the first step towards justice for Gray, said his stepfather, left. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

The family is also calling for reform of police departments across the United States, said attorney Billy Murphy, Jr., including such measures as body cameras for police, better hiring practices, more oversight and a new culture within police departments.

"The blue wall of silence which makes policemen wrongfully conspire to conceal evil must come down," said Murphy, who spoke after Shipley.

Mosby announced the charges less than a day after receiving the results of an internal police investigation and the autopsy report into Gray's death. 

Mosby declared that Gray's death was a homicide, that his arrest was illegal, and that his treatment amounted to murder and manslaughter. She detailed what happened to Gray during his arrest and the more than 30-minute ride in a police wagon, her outline either contradicting what police have said or shedding far more light on what happened inside the wagon.

"Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD wagon," Mosby said.

Police union says officers are innocent

Onlookers cheered and shouted "Justice!" during Mosby's announcement. Few expected such quick action. The city, which saw looting and businesses and cars burned in riots on Monday, remains under a nighttime curfew, with National Guard troops and police out in full force and huge protests expected Friday and Saturday.

More than 200 people have been arrested and nearly 100 officers injured in the unrest following Gray's funeral.

Malik Shabazz, the president of Black Lawyers for Justice, says Saturday's protest march will now be a "victory rally," and said Mosby is "setting a standard for prosecutors all over the nation."

Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for allegedly possessing a switchblade knife on April 12. 2015. He died a week later in hospital from a spinal cord injury. (Murphy, Falcon & Murphy)
"There's a sense of surprise and joy," CBC's Lyndsay Duncombe said from Baltimore, adding that people feel the charges were a result of protests in the city and across the country.

The police union says the officers are innocent. A lawyer for some of the officers accused Mosby of a rush to judgment that raises grave concerns about the integrity of the prosecution.

"We believe these officers will be vindicated, as they have done nothing wrong," said Michael Davey, attorney for the Baltimore police union, at a news briefing Friday afternoon. 

"No officer injured Mr. Gray, caused harm to Mr. Gray. They are truly saddened by his death. No officer did anything wrong."

'No one is above the law'

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a brief statement Friday afternoon that she had ordered the suspension of all six officers.

"No one is above the law," she said, echoing Mosby. The mayor said she had been sickened by the charges against city police officers, but "there will be justice for Mr. Gray."

The stiffest charge — second-degree "depraved heart" murder — was filed against the driver of the police van, Officer Caesar R. Goodson, Jr. It's a more serious charge than manslaughter, but it falls short of premeditated, first-degree murder. Legal authorities suggest that it implies a wanton lack of care about the consequences of one's actions. 
People celebrated in the streets of Baltimore after it was announced that six officers would be charged in Gray's death. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

The other five were charged with crimes, including manslaughter, assault, false imprisonment and misconduct in office.

Fraternal Order of Police local president Gene Ryan told Mosby in a letter before the charges were announced Friday that none of the six suspended officers are responsible for Gray's death.

Mysterious spinal injury

But Mosby said Gray was illegally arrested, assaulted, falsely accused of carrying an illegal weapon, and then hoisted, handcuffed, into the metal compartment of a police van without the seatbelt that all officers are told they must put on for the safety of both detainees and officers.

The officers later failed to get medical help even though Gray requested it repeatedly, she said. At some point along the way, he suffered a mysterious spinal injury and died a week later.

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      Mosby said the switchblade — which Officer Garrett E. Miller swore in a court record under penalty of perjury that he found clipped inside Gray's pants pocket after he was detained — was in fact a legal knife, and provided no justification for Gray's arrest.

      She said Gray was assaulted by Miller, Officer William G. Porter, Officer Edward M. Nero, Lt. Brian W. Rice and Sgt. Alicia D. White. Each faces up to 10 years if convicted of second-degree assault.

      Goodson, Jr., the van driver, faces up to 30 years on the murder charge, and 10 years each for involuntary manslaughter, assault and "manslaughter by vehicle." All of the officers also face a charge of misconduct in office.

      5 generations of police

      Mosby said she comes from five generations of police officers, that she respects and honours how police serve the people, and that this case should in no way damage the relationship between police and prosecutors in Baltimore.

      A man fist-bumps police officers while celebrating the news of charges in the Gray case. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
      She swiftly rejected a request from the Baltimore police officers union asking her to appoint a special independent prosecutor because of her ties to attorney Billy Murphy, who is representing Gray's family. Murphy was among Mosby's biggest campaign contributors last year, donating the maximum individual amount allowed, $4,000 US, in June. Murphy also served on Mosby's transition team after the election.

      The state medical examiner's office said it sent Gray's autopsy report to prosecutors Friday morning. Spokesman Bruce Goldfarb says the Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner will not release the report publicly while the case is under investigation.

      At the corner of North and Pennsylvania avenues, where the worst of the rioting took place on Monday, drivers honked their horns. When buses stopped in front of the subway station, people spilled out cheering as the doors opened.

      Ciara Ford, of Baltimore, expressed surprise at the decision to prosecute.

      "I'm ecstatic," she said. "I hope this can restore some peace."

      Her friend, Stephanie Owens of Columbia, agreed. They both hoped the officers would be convicted. And both believed that the protests in the city made a difference in ensuring that authorities took the case seriously.

      "If we had kept quiet, I don't think they would have prosecuted," Ford said.


      The charges against the officers are:

      Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr.

      • Second-degree depraved heart murder, 30 years.
      • Involuntary manslaughter, 10 years.
      • Second-degree assault, 10 years.
      • Gross negligent manslaughter by vehicle, 10 years.
      • Criminal negligent manslaughter, 3 years.
      • Misconduct in office.

      Officer William G. Porter

      • Involuntary manslaughter, 10 years.
      • Second-degree assault, 10 years.
      • Misconduct in office.

      Lt. Brian W. Rice

      • Involuntary manslaughter, 10 years.
      • 2 counts of second-degree assault, 10 years each.
      • 2 counts of misconduct in office.
      • False imprisonment.

      Officer Edward M. Nero

      • 2 counts of second-degree assault, 10 years.
      • 2 counts of misconduct in office.
      • False imprisonment.

      Officer Garrett E. Miller

      • 2 counts of second-degree assault, 10 years each.
      • 2 counts of misconduct in office.
      • False imprisonment.

      Sgt. Alicia D. White

      • Involuntary manslaughter, 10 years.
      • Second-degree assault, 10 years.
      • Misconduct in office.

      Corrections

      • An earlier version of this story erroneously said all six police officers were charged with felony offences. In fact, only four of the officers face felony charges, and two officers have been charged with misdemeanour offences.
        May 07, 2015 8:14 PM ET

      With files from CBC News

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