The city of Baltimore has admitted to civil liability for the death of Freddie Gray with a settlement for 6.4 million dollars to Gray’s family. But while Baltimore city has chosen not to go to trial it does not mean the police officers’ are off the hook.
The 6 officers involved are still going to trial and justice still must be served for the criminal responsibility in the murder of Freddie Gray. However Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake states:
The proposed settlement agreement going before the Board of Estimates should not be interpreted as a judgment on the guilt or innocence of the officers facing trial. This settlement is being proposed solely because it is in the best interest of the city, and avoids costly and protracted litigation that would only make it more difficult for our city to heal and potentially cost taxpayers many millions more in damages.
– Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore City
Now I understand that politics requires the Mayor to make such a statement and in an effort to try to encourage the city’s settlement to not influence the decision being made in the officers’ case she has to try to separate the 2. The city’s case is a civil matter and the police officers are being tried for criminal charges, which is definitely different; however, I cannot see how the 2 do not somehow correlate.
City vs. Police
Despite the fact that the city’s was a civil one and their settlement admits civil liability on their behalf for the death of Freddie Gray, this still could play a part in the criminal trials of the police officers. I read an article that stated that the reason that this could play a part is because of jurors confusing the fact that the city admitted to liability as being the same as admitting that the police were wrong. I could see that but I’m not so sure that is that big of deal once it is explained to them. What I am thinking is that there is a legal argument to be made there. Police officers are city employees and as such they are agents that represent the city. Because their direct involvement created a situation in which the city is civilly liable for Freddie Gray’s death it would seem quite logical to state that the would also mean the the police officers are responsible for Freddie Gray’s death. They are agents of the city who has admitted liability. So, in fact, the city’s settlement actually does imply that the officers are, in some way, responsible for Freddie Gray’s death.
The loophole for the defense will most likely be related to the charges that the city is bringing against the officers. Even if the city’s admission basically makes the officers responsible the prosecution has to charge them with the right crime. The prosecution will have to find a charge that fits and will stick. Luckily the officers are being charged separately so there is a pretty good chance that at least of few them will actually be found guilty of their charges.
The most severe charge being brought against 1 of the officers is second degree murder, which would mean that the officers killed in the heat of their emotions and for which the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.
The next serious charge facing 4 of the officers is involuntary manslaughter which is quite similar to second degree murder; however, involuntary manslaughter states that the murder happened as a result of officers actions whether intentional or not.
The other charges are related to unlawful detainment or arrests and low level assault charges. So it seems that State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has chosen applicable charges that she is certain that she can prove and stacked them individually against officers in a way that she should be able to get something to stick on each officer. The United States justice has proven that it can be utterly disappointing and significantly unjust so the case could still go totally left, especially with a jury.
It appears that Mosby has a reasonably fair case that she is bringing to trial and the fact that the city has already acquiesced to civil liability it would seem that the officers would not be able to walk away without having to wear some charge. All of the charges placed against them are reasonable and applicable so, hopefully, these officers will not walk away with administrative duty or financially supported exile. Knowing how often the American justice system delivers everything but justice, nothing is guranteed. But for the moment we are on the right track with this case. The rest remains to be seen.
I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,
An Angry Black Man