Five Baltimore police officers involved in the 2015 arrest and death of Freddie Gray have been charged with violating department rules, with three of them facing termination, The Baltimore Sun has learned.
The three who face firing are Officer Caesar Goodson, who was driving the van where an autopsy determined Gray suffered fatal injuries; and supervisors Lt. Brian Rice and Sgt. Alicia White, according to sources with knowledge of the case.
Meanwhile, Officer William Porter, who was criminally charged with manslaughter, is not facing any internal discipline.
The internal charges come after investigators from the Montgomery and Howard county police departments finished their review of the case earlier this month. The Baltimore Police Department asked them to handle the investigation to avoid a conflict of interest.
All of the officers can accept that punishment or elect to contest the charges before a “trial board,” an internal disciplinary panel comprised of police officers. The board has the power to acquit the officers or uphold the charges. If the charges are upheld, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis would have the final say on punishment.
A new state law makes trial boards open to the public, but keeps the outcomes secret.
Police spokesman T.J. Smith declined to comment Monday, saying the department is unable to discuss personnel matters.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby — who brought criminal charges against the officers but failed to win a conviction— issued a statement Monday saying “justice is always worth the price paid for its pursuit.”
“This case has always been about providing justice for an innocent 25-year-old man who was unreasonably taken into police custody, severely injured while in police custody, and died due to a lack of care,” she said. “If today’s news is accurate, I am relieved to know that a majority of those involved will be held administratively accountable for their actions.”
The five officers were informed of the charges against them Friday, according to Michael E. Davey, an attorney who handles internal affairs cases for the police union, the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police. Davey represented all five officers during the internal review.
The specifics of the charges — and what actions, or failure to act, led to them — is not clear. Davey said the officers are charged with “violations of policy and procedure,” but declined to elaborate.
Source: Baltimore Sun | Justin Fenton