Why the Freddie Grey case might fall apart

Freddie GreyREUTERS/Jonathan ErnstProtesters against police violence stop traffic at a major intersection in the Chinatown neighbourhood as they begin a march towards the White House in Washington, April 29, 2015.

The charges against six Baltimore cops in relation to the death of Freddie Grey may not hold up in court, according to officials familiar with the case.

A Baltimore Police Department investigation into Grey’s death has found that some of the alleged crimes described by State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby are not supported by the evidence, sources tell CNN.

These disparities have led at least one lawyer representing the accused to file a motion that could tear down Mosby’s case, which she centered around Grey’s knife.

Mosby insists the blade was legal. Police insist it was illegal. But even if the knife is legal, the case could still crumble.

“If the facts were that the knife was illegal, then the Grey arrest would be justified,” attorney Andy Alperstein told WJLA. “Even if it wasn’t illegal and the officers acted in good faith, it would be the same result. All charges fail.”

The knife’s legality centres on whether it was a spring-loaded automatic model, which is illegal, or one that has a spring mechanism that assists the person opening the knife, which is legal.

“An automatic knife means all you do is push a button and the blade pops out,” Michael Faith, marketing director for Henderson’s Sporting Goods, told WJLA. “A lot of knives will have a little spring assist so when you push it open with your thumb, the knife will open up pretty much by itself.”

A lawyer for officer Edward Nero, who is one of five cops charged with manslaughter, filed a motion claiming Grey’s blade was illegal.

Further complicating matters for the prosecution, people who have spoken to the medical examiner believe Grey’s death will not be ruled a homicide, sources told CNN. Police investigating the case told the cable network they viewed Grey’s death as manslaughter at most.

A manslaughter charge is used in cases where a person dies from negligence or while an individual is in the process of carrying out a crime, according to the Economist.

The second-degree murder charge leveled at officer Caesar Goodson, who is also African-American, will require an even greater burden of proof. But Mosby remains undeterred.

The State Attorney’s office released the following statement to CNN:

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.

Grey died April 19, one week after suffering an injury that partially severed his spine while he was face-down in a police van while handcuffed and shackled but not wearing a seatbelt, Mosby said during a dramatic press conference last week.

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