For over two years, the United States Justice Department has been investigating the case of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in the custody of Baltimore police. Now the DOJ has reached a decision on whether or not the incident is a federal matter.
ABC News reports that the Justice Department will not file federal charges against the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest, detainment, and death.
The officers were charged by state prosecutors after Gray’s neck was broken in the back of a police transport wagon in April of 2015. The 25-year-old was handcuffed and shackled at the time, but he was unrestrained by a seat belt.
Three officers were acquitted at trial. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped the remaining state cases.
The Gray family’s attorney, Billy Murphy, says the Justice Department informed him on Tuesday that no charges would be filed.
Five officers face internal disciplinary trials, scheduled to begin Oct. 30.
The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti has more:
The DOJ began looking into the case in 2015, at the behest of Baltimore authorities. But two and a half years later, the DOJ says it could find no evidence that Gray’s civil rights were violated during the arrest, and while officer conduct might have been reckless – they make no judgment on the subject – none of the officers had the “specific intent” required for the DOJ to press charges.
The DOJ did not look into the criminality of any individual officer’s conduct. The DOJ did, however, conduct a review of Baltimore Police Department, and found that BPD officers did disproportionately target black individuals when conducting traffic stops and searches.
For the record, that latter conclusion was under the Obama Administration. At the time, the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald dismantled the Obama DOJ report’s methodology in National Review:
The Justice Department accuses the Baltimore police of a pattern or practice of violating blacks’ civil rights. Justice’s methodology for reaching that conclusion is by now drearily familiar: Because blacks are stopped and arrested by the Baltimore police at a higher rate than their representation in the Baltimore population, the police are guilty of racial bias.
This use of a population benchmark to analyze police activity is preposterously misguided, given the large disparities in rates of criminal victimization and crime commission. In 2015, more than 90 percent of Balimore’s homicide victims were black, even though blacks are only 63 percent of the city’s population. Though the police department does not report the race of criminals, it is certain that at least 90 percent of homicide and shootings suspects in Baltimore are also black. To expect police activity to match population ratios when crime commission is not evenly spread throughout the population is either disingenuous or disqualifyingly ignorant.
Without presuming to determine the guilt or innocence of the officers in the Gray case, the Trump Justice Department’s decision here was obviously the right one. Most crimes are state or local issues. So are most misdeeds by government officials, even when the consequences are deadly. If the people of Baltimore are convinced that these police officers got away with murder, then it’s up to them to vote those responsible for letting them out of office.
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