Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped all charges against the three remaining police officers in the Freddie Grey case on Wednesday, closing the possibility that any of them will be convicted of a crime in Grey’s death.
Despite the abrupt end to the case, Mosby said at a news conference on Wednesday that she stands by the position that Grey’s death was a homicide.
“We do not believe that Freddie Grey killed himself,” she said.
Grey, a 25-year-old Baltimore man, died in April 2015 after suffering a spinal injury that he is believed to have sustained in the back of a police van. Grey had been arrested on a charge of possession of a switchblade knife.
Mosby’s decision to drop charges came as no surprise to experts who have been following the case, and predicted this outcome long ago.
Her ability to bring about a conviction hinged upon the outcome of Caesar Goodson’s trial in June, according to Peter Moskos, an associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former Baltimore police officer.
Goodson, who had driven the police van in which Grey is believed to have suffered a fatal spinal injury, received the harshest charge of all six officers: second-degree depraved-heart murder. He was acquitted last month by Judge Barry Williams after an eight-day bench trial.
Six officers had originally been charged, three of whom were acquitted and one of whom was scheduled for a retrial after the judge declared a mistrial. Officers Garrett Miller and William Porter and Sgt. Alicia White were scheduled to be tried throughout the summer and fall months.
Moskos said that, since Goodson was the most culpable of the officers charged, his case had the highest likelihood of a conviction. But after his acquittal, there was virtually no chance that the other officers would receive a different verdict, Moskos said.
“This was the only case she could possibly have won,” he told Business Insider in June. “The other cases were weaker, and the prosecution’s never shown that a crime has happened.”
Further, Mosby cemented her own failure to secure a conviction by making key missteps in the original investigation and falling short of providing enough evidence to support the charges, according to former Maryland prosecutor Rene Sandler.
“My view of this case from the beginning was that the prosecutor rushed to judgment, that the prosecutor overcharged, and that the prosecutor didn’t take the time to fully and completely investigate this case before charging,” Sandler told Business Insider after Goodson’s acquittal.
“Had the prosecutor slowed it down and done her due diligence in this case, that could have made a huge difference in terms of the outcome of this case,” she said.
Mosby told media on Wednesday that her decision to drop charges was “agonizing,” but that wide-ranging and systemic issues within the criminal-justice system had impeded any hope of a conviction:
“After much thought and prayer, it has become clear that without being able to work with an independent investigatory agency from the very start, without having a say in the election of whether cases proceed in front of a judge or jury, without communal oversight of police in this community, without substantive reforms to the current criminal-justice system, we could try this case 100 times and cases just like it and we would still end up with the same result.”
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