BALTIMORE – Latest developments:
• Baltimore’s city government has brought in Judy Smith, the crisis communications manager whose life story became the basis for the hit TV show “Scandal,” to navigate issues related to the Freddie Gray case, a source familiar with the arrangement said.
• Five of the six officers charged were in custody as of around 1 p.m. Friday, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Friday. She said she ordered her city’s police commissioner to “immediately suspend” all of the officers facing charges.
• “There is no place in the Baltimore city Police Department” for officers involved in misconduct, racism and corruption, the mayor said. “There will be justice for Mr. Gray, there will be justice for his family, and there will be justice for the city of Baltimore.”
Six Baltimore police officers will face charges in the death of Freddie Gray, the city’s prosecutor said Friday in an unexpected announcement that brought cheers from protesters and words of protest from the police union.
The announcement by Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby left no doubt about what she thinks happened April 12, when Gray was arrested: The 25-year-old died, she said, after suffering “a severe and critical neck injury” while being transported “handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained” inside a police van. It is against police policy to transport a prisoner without proper restraints such as a seat belt.
But the city’s police union insisted that none of the officers was responsible for Gray’s death.
“To the contrary, at all times, each of the officers diligently balanced their obligations to protect Mr. Gray and discharge their duties to protect the public,” wrote Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police President Gene Ryan.
The driver of the van, Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr. received the most serious charge: second-degree depraved-heart murder, among other accusations — including manslaughter by vehicle.
Charges against the other officers varied. All were accused of misconduct and second-degree assault. Three were charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Five of them were in custody Friday afternoon, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced at a news conference. She urged Police Commissioner Anthony Batts to immediately suspend all officers facing charges.
“There will be justice for Mr. Gray, there will be justice for his family, and there will be justice for the city of Baltimore,” she said.
Word of the Mosby’s decision quickly filtered through Baltimore and across the country.
Jubilant protesters, who just hours before had been decrying what they called the slow pace of the investigation, honked horns and cheered in the streets, happy, for the moment at least, that the justice they had demanded appeared to be taking its course.
“Did we expect something this monumental? No,” the Rev. Walter Scott Thomas of New Faith Psalmist Baptist Church said. “But are we excited about it? Absolutely.”