Freddie Gray death ruled a homicide; six Baltimore police officers charged

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BALTIMORE -- Baltimore's prosecutor brought charges Friday against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, saying he suffered "a severe and critical neck injury" as a result of being placed "handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained" inside a police van.

The most serious charge is second-degree depraved-heart murder for the driver of the van, officer Caesar Goodson Jr.

"To the people of Baltimore and demonstrators across America, I heard your call for 'No Justice, No peace,'" Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said. "Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man."

Mosby said her office's investigation, coupled with a medical examiner's determination that Gray's death was a homicide, led her to determine there is probable cause to file criminal charges.

Mosby said three Baltimore police officers illegally arrested Gray on April 12. She also said a knife that Gray had was not illegal and was not a switchblade, which police had previously said it was.

Goodson was charged with second-degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence), manslaughter by vehicle (criminal negligence) and misconduct in office that could lead to a maximum punishment of 69 years in prison.

Officer William Porter was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office that could lead to 20 years in prison.

Lt. Brian Rice was charged with involuntary manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and false imprisonment that could lead to 30 years in prison.

Officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller were each charged with two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and false imprisonment that could lead to 20 years each in prison.

And Sgt. Alicia White was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office that could lead to 20 years in prison.

Warrants have been issued for the officers' arrests. The officers are expected to be arraigned Friday, according to a source with knowledge of the proceedings.

In an open letter to Mosby, the city police union's president said "none of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Gray."

"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," Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police President Gene Ryan wrote.

Ryan asked in the letter, which came out just before Mosby announced the charges, that a special independent prosecutor be appointed to look into the case.

Mosby's announcement brought cheers from onlookers at her news conference. Motorists in Baltimore honked horns and support exploded online.

Reactions on social media have all generally been positive and in support of Mosby's decision to pursue charges.

Before the announcement, protesters had planned at least four rallies in Baltimore to express their frustration with what they said was a slow pace of the investigation.

Other demonstrations were scheduled in Chicago; New York; Seattle; Dallas; San Francisco; and Oakland, Calif.