Although cleared of all criminal charges related to the death of Freddie Gray the six officers still faced an internal investigation. The results of that investigation, conducted by Howard & Montgomery Counties, were turned over to Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. Commissioner Davis has now made public his decision regarding potential punishment. According to Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun officers face termination, 2 suspensions & 1 will not be disciplined.
Lt. Brian Rice, Sgt. Alicia White & Officer Caesar Goodson each face termination. Officers Edward Nero & Garrett Miller face 5 days suspensions. Only William Porter, who it was determined did not violate any department policies, will avoid discipline.
Internal discipline was always a possibility and honestly, I am surprised even one officer avoided some level of punishment. But termination? Haven’t these officers been through enough already? At some point, the department needs to balance the need to discipline with the turmoil these officers have already faced.
If you remember then State‘s Attorney Marilyn Mosby was quick to charge all 6 officers with a series of crimes ranging from misconduct in office to 2nd Degree depraved-heart murder. Not only would these charges have ruined their careers but also very lengthy prison sentences.
One by one the officers elected to go to trial and one by one the cases against them fell apart like a wet paper bag. Lt. Rice, Officer Nero and Officer Goodson were each acquitted during a bench trial- probably because the judge was not easily swayed by emotion and saw through the flimsy case built on almost no evidence. The charges against Sgt. White, Officer Porter and Officer Miller of understandably dropped after it became clear that the same theory supported with the same evidence could only result in the same verdict.
Of course, you also remember that five of the officers have filed a civil suit against Marilyn Mosby & Assistant Samuel Cogen, who prepared the unsubstantiated affidavits of probable cause, for malicious prosecution. Interestingly enough the 5 officers who filed that suit are also the 5 officers facing discipline.
Some supporters are already claiming the 5 officers associated with the suit are facing punishment as retaliation. While this is possible I have not seen proof of any conspiracy- the investigation was conducted by two outside, independent agencies. However, much of the evidence available to those investigators likely came from the investigation conducted by Marilyn Mosby’s office.
Commissioner Davis has not released the specifics concerning the department policies each officer is alleged to have violated, although the only policy violation identified during the cases that did go to trial was a failure to seatbelt Grey during transport. If this is the only policy violation termination is hardly fitting, after all, a similar violation by the average driver carries nothing more than a simple moving violation.
Unfortunately, I think that the policy violations are far more extensive than failing to use a seatbelt. As anyone who has every served in a law enforcement agency knows department policies usually fill volumes not pages and cover such obscure infractions it is impossible for an officer to know everything they can and cannot do on duty. I suspect the investigation identified every possible policy infractions and the department then stacked enough hand out the maximum punishment possible- termination when possible and suspension as a backup.
Only time will tell what the final outcome will be. I am sure the union will fight every sanction and, if possible, work out deals for their members. But even if the punishments are decreased one thing is for sure – the officers’ careers are over. Hopefully, they are able to start new with the money they are sure to win in the civil suit.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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