Officers Charged In Freddie Gray's Death Want Their Charges Dismissed, According To New Court Documents
The six police officers charged in the death of Baltimore man Freddie Gray want the case dismissed, arguing that the charges are politically motivated, CBS Washington reported. In a motion filed in Baltimore District Court on Friday, attorneys representing the six law enforcement officers requested for the case to be dismissed, or else Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby should recused herself and be replaced by an independent prosecutor. The news of the motion comes the same day newly appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the Department of Justice is launching a civil rights investigation into the Baltimore Police Department and its conduct.
Six police officers were charged with various criminal offenses following a probe into Gray's death, which occurred while the 25-year-old was in police custody. After being arrested on April 12, Gray died one week later from a severe spinal cord injury. It's believed that Gray's injury was caused sometime during the arrest and 45-minute transport to the police station, during which he was placed in the back of a police van without a seat belt; he was in handcuffs and leg irons during the ride.
Mosby charged one police officer, identified by her office as Caesar R. Goodson, Jr., with second-degree depraved heart murder, a penalty that carries up to 30 years in prison. Goodson was also charged with manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence).
Three of the six officers, including Goodson, face involuntary manslaughter charges, while all of the accused officers were charged with assault in the second degree and misconduct in office. Several of the officers also face false imprisonment charges.
According to the motion filed Friday, attorneys representing the accused officers claim these charges are “overzealous” and “politically motivated." Mosby's husband, Nick Mosby, is currently a city councilman in Baltimore — in a neighborhood where the brunt of the recent riots occurred.
“The need to quell the raging inferno of human rage and revulsion within the confines of the 7th District was emergent,” the motion reads. “These officers soon found themselves offered up to the masses by Mrs. Mosby to quell the uprising that caused most harm to the district where her husband is the City Council representative.”
According to The Baltimore Sun, the motion also argues that Mosby and her office have several conflicts of interest with this case. For instance, the motion alleges that deputy state's attorney Janice Bledsoe, who will be one of the lead prosecutors in this case, is in a relationship with local Baltimore TV news reporter Jayne Miller, who was one of the first reporters to speak with a prisoner in the police van at the time Gray was allegedly injured.
But at the center of the conflicts of interest lies Mosby and her husband's "political and personal gain," the motion alleges. "Rarely in the history of any criminal case has a prosecutor so directly maintained so many conflicts of interest ... and a prosecutor steadfastly refuses to recuse him or herself," the motion states.
Mosby and the state's attorney office for Baltimore City have declined to make public comments on this motion at this time. Earlier this week, on Tuesday, Mosby released a statement on the Freddie Gray case through her office, defending the serious charges she brought against the officers:
While the evidence we have obtained through our independent investigation does substantiate the elements of the charges filed, I refuse to litigate this case through the media.
The evidence we have collected cannot ethically be disclosed, relayed or released to the public before trial. As I’ve previously indicated, I strongly condemn anyone in law enforcement with access to trial evidence, who has or continues to leak information prior to the resolution of this case. These unethical disclosures are only damaging our ability to conduct a fair and impartial process for all parties involved.
The Baltimore City state's attorney also told CNN earlier this week that she is not leaving the case, despite the mounting pressure:
There is no conflict of interest. I'm going to prosecute. I'm the Baltimore state's attorney. My district includes every city in Baltimore city. A number of crimes that take place in Baltimore city and unfortunately in the district we live. Where is the conflict?
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