By Tramon Lucas
On Friday, Baltimore’s state’s attorney, Marilyn J. Mosby, charged six police officers for their alleged role in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray and members of the Morgan State University community reacted swiftly to her decision.
“The findings of our comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation coupled with the medical examiner’s determination that Mr. Gray’s death was a homicide, which we have received today has led us to believe that we have probable cause to file criminal charges,” said Mosby in her statement at the city’s war memorial.
Several charges, including second-murder, manslaughter, assault, false imprisonment and misconduct in office, were filed and arrest warrants issued. The officers were taken into custody by late Friday. If convicted, the officers’ sentences would range from three to 30 years on the individual charges.
Mosby had a stern message on justice as she assured Gray’s family that “no one is above the law and that I would pursue justice for Freddie Gray.” Mosby also had a message for the citizens of Baltimore and the protesters around the nation.
“The State’s Attorney has called upon the entire community to be peaceful while the prosecution moves forward in its quest for justice. I echo her call,” said Morgan State President David Wilson.
“I am calling on all members of the Morgan State University community to continue our embrace of peaceful protesting as the criminal case against the six police officers charged in the death of Mr. Gray moves ahead,” Wilson added.
“I heard your call for ‘No justice, no peace’ your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice for this young man,” said Mosby.
As Mosby fights for justice and peace, the students and faculty at Morgan State said they hope her decision leads to change.
“With the Freddie Gray situation it’s good that the cops were charged because justice needs to be served,” said sophomore Julian Johnson. “It’s been many times that unlawful things that took place and were paved and this is the first step to change,” he added.
Another student however thinks no justice has been served yet.
“There still isn’t any justice. They are all still innocent until proven guilty,” said Lawrence Dukes.
“I’m surprised. I think she probably moved too fast. There are still some unanswered questions,” said Michael Kamara, a lecturer in political science and international studies. “I think there needs to be more investigation.”
In an open letter to Mosby, Gene S. Ryan, president of the local police union, questioned Mosby’s motives and the timing of the charges and called for the appointment of a special prosecutor.
“While I have the utmost respect for you and your office, I have very deep concerns about the many conflicts of interest presented by your office conducting the investigation,” said Ryan.
“These conflicts include your personal and professional relationship with the Gray’s family attorney, William Murphy, and the lead prosecutor’s connections with members of the local media,” he added.
Mosby urged protesters to be calm and peaceful while the investigation continues.
“To those who are angry, hurt and have their own experiences of injustice at the hands of police officers, I urge you to channel the energy peacefully as we prosecute this case,” said Mosby.
“I feel like it’s a part of something a lot larger and we need to realize that now before we get complacent,” said senior Calvin Alston. “They stated that they charged the officers with murder, but that’s not the end it’s only the beginning. We need to make sure that they’re convicted.”
Featured Photo Credit: The Baltimore Sun