I’ll bet you thought that the entire Freddie Gray saga was finally behind us. After all, why wouldn’t you? After State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby made her ill fated decision to bring charges against the police officers involved in the incident, one case after another fell apart in court. The dismal affair ended without a single conviction in several attempts and the remaining cases being dropped. But it turns out that those courtroom dramatics weren’t the end of the story. There’s been an internal investigation going on at the police department since the entire affair began and now it’s come to a close. Local news reports indicate that five of the officers may still face disciplinary measures up to and including losing their jobs. (The Root)
The Freddie Gray case lives on with the Baltimore Police Department’s decision to bring internal charges against five of the six officers involved in the case, with at least three of them also facing termination.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., who was driving the police van in which Gray sustained fatal injuries, along with Lt. Brian Rice and Sgt. Alicia White, could all be fired as a result of the internal disciplinary action.
Officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller, who made the initial arrest of Gray, face up to five days’ suspension without pay. Officer William Porter is currently not facing any disciplinary action in the case.
According to the local news, the final report detailing the results of the investigation was completed and submitted to the city police on May 12th, but it hasn’t been released to the public. The Baltimore PD required additional time to review the findings and make a final decision as to how they would proceed. The five officers facing disciplinary measures were informed of the situation on Friday and they will have the option to appeal.
With the court cases having gone nowhere it may come as a surprise to see this happening, but let’s keep in mind the distinction between what Marilyn Mosby wanted to do and what the police have done on their own. These five officers are being internally charged with “violations of policy and procedure.” That’s a far cry from accusing them of violating the law, committing murder or manslaughter or what have you. As with any other profession, it’s certainly possible to violate the company rules and procedures without being guilty of an actual crime, and your employer can always discipline you for such things, including seeing you lose your job. In this case, the officers can still appeal the decision before an internal disciplinary panel if they disagree with the findings.
In the end this is probably how the entire affair should have been handled rather than attempting to send the officers up the river at trial in some sort of public relations stunt. While they have all been cleared of any criminal liability, a suspect did die while in their custody. That warrants an internal investigation to determine if best practices were not followed or even if their policies and procedures required revision. Either way, if the cops involved in the incident did something wrong, this sort of investigation was best suited to make that determination.