The DOJ released its report on its investigation into the Baltimore Police Department. You can read the entire 164 page report here. I’ve also placed a link to the report on the right-side border under “Documents”.
The DOJ ends its report by summarizing its findings;
“For the foregoing reasons, the Department of Justice concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that BPD engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal law. The pattern or practice includes: (1) making unconstitutional stops, searches, and arrests; (2) using enforcement strategies that produce severe and unjustified disparities in the rates of stops, searches and arrests of African Americans; (3) using excessive force; and (4 ) retaliating against people engaging in constitutionally -protected expression. We also identified concern s regarding BPD’s transport of individuals and investigation of sexual assaults. BPD’s failings result from deficient policies, training, oversight, and accountability, and policing strategies that do not engage effectively with the community the Department serves. “
The part I want address concerns stops and arrests that are not prosecuted. Read the rest of this entry
On Dec. 28, 2014, Baltimore police officer Wesley Cagle and three other officers responded to a commercial burglary. Authorities say 47-year-old Michael Johansen ran from the building and officers ordered him to show his hands.
Officers said that Michael reached down as if going for a gun, and two officers shot him. Prosecutors say that Cagle then approached Michael who was lying on the floor and shot him once in the groin.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby brought charges against Cagle. Michael Johansen survived and testified against Cagle at trial.
“In a rare conviction in a use-of-force case against a police officer, jurors found Wesley Cagle, 46, guilty of first-degree assault and a handgun charge. Prosecutors said Cagle shot Michael Johansen in the groin as he lay in the doorway of an East Baltimore corner store after two other officers had shot the man.”
The jury’s foreman was interviewed and said that the video where Michael had his hands up saying he was unarmed, helped the jury reach its verdict of guilty.
“There was no need for him to take that final shot,” said jury foreman Jerome Harper.
Michael testified that he was a heroin addict who was looking for money on the night he was shot. Read the rest of this entry
Let’s see if we can figure this out, and why it takes digging into several media sources to get all of the details. Seriously, my research about this case took me back to July 2014, and online news sources St. Louis Today, Fox news, and the Washington Times.
On July 22, 2014, St. Louis, MO police detective Thomas A. Carroll assaulted handcuffed suspect, Michael Waller. He didn’t report it to superiors and assisted in filing charges against Waller.
After 25 years on the job, Carroll was suspended without pay in late July 2014 amid ongoing criminal and internal investigations that is said to have involved the FBI. Subsequently, Carroll retired. Internal affairs charged Carroll with failure to follow an order.
Michael Waller was charged on July 23, 2014 with receiving stolen property and fraudulent use of a credit card, along with an escape charge relative to resisting arrest. He was allegedly in possession of a stolen credit card that belonged to Carroll’s daughter. His booking photo shows that he had a black-eye.
Two St. Louis prosecutors, Bliss Worrell and Katherine Dierdorf, were forced to leave their jobs because of their knowledge of events, and the circumstances related to charging Waller. There was investigation that Carroll was giving prosecutors unauthorized ride-alongs that included allowing them to use his taser on suspects. The same day that Worrell and Dierdorf left their jobs, the charges against Waller were dismissed. Read the rest of this entry
The Baltimore Sun reports that Officer Ceasar Goodson Jr., who faced the most serious charges of any of the six officers indicted in the death of Freddie Gray, has been acquitted of all charges.
Officer Caesar Goodson, Jr., 46, had faced the most serious charges of any of the six officers indicted in Gray’s arrest and death last April, including second-degree depraved heart murder. Goodson was also acquitted of three counts of manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.
Freddie Gray was 25 years old when he suffered a fatal spinal injury while in the back of the police van driven by Goodson.
Goodson opted for a bench trial before Circuit Judge Barry Williams. Judge Williams said the timeline of Gray’s injuries remains unclear, and the state “failed to meet its burden” to present enough evidence to back its assertions. “As the trier of fact, the court can’t simply let things speak for themselves,” stated Judge Williams. Read the rest of this entry
Trial starts on Thursday of this week for the Baltimore police officer who was driving the van transporting Freddie Gray. This is the trial I was waiting for. Officer Caesar Goodson faces the most serious charges of the 6 Baltimore officers who were charged in Freddie’s death. He is also the only officer out of the 6 who did not give a statement to investigators.
Freddie was placed in the back of the van last April. By the time the van arrived at a police station less than hour later, Freddie’s spine was nearly severed, and he died several days later.
Goodson is charged with; Read the rest of this entry
If this were my child in this video, I would be in some very serious trouble. In life we are taught to be law-abiding and for the most part, I think most people are. But… after seeing this disturbing video, God himself would have to grab and restrain me from reaching out to touch this particular officer in some manner.
Okay, before I get too far ahead of myself, let me give you more information. At Reach Partnership School, a middle school in Baltimore, Maryland, a police officer was caught on camera slapping and kicking a student. At this time, the head of the Baltimore school police force and the two officers seen in this video are on administrative leave. This action was taken after the video became public. No word yet as to what happened prior to the physical altercation but I can assure you that attorneys are lined up…
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Twenty-five year old Freddie Gray was arrested April 12 after he ran from police in his West Baltimore neighborhood. His hands and feet were shackled. He was placed in the police van and not belted in. He suffered a spinal injury and died a week later. At Porter’s trial, medical experts for both sides said that Freddie’s injury was likened to one sustained when someone dives headfirst into a shallow pool of water.
The public has only heard bits and pieces of trial testimony because no cameras or electronic devices are allowed in the courtroom. Today, there is a bit more reported about the trial that we would have to have kept track to know. For example, there were 20 witnesses and about 100 pieces of evidence. The jury saw the van that Freddie died in.
William Porter is the first officer to stand trial. He has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.
The jury of three black men, five black women, two white men and two white women now decide whether Porter is guilty or innocent. Judge Barry G. Williams told jurors they could stay as late as they would like each day to deliberate.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis canceled leave for officers through Friday. “The community has an expectation for us to be prepared for a variety of scenarios,” Davis said.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has urged residents to remain calm. “Whatever the verdict, we need everyone in our city to respect the judicial process,” Rawlings-Blake said. “We need everyone visiting our city to respect Baltimore.”
Our committed and precious Yahtzee took time to put the tweets of Kevin Rector in chronological order from today regarding closing arguments and jury instructions. Read the rest of this entry
William Porter is charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. He is the first of 6 Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Porter’s attorneys have stated that he will testify, although that can change.
Tuesday morning, jurors heard from an expert of police procedures who said officers have an obligation to seat-belt arrestees and get them quick medical attention. Dr. Michael Lyman, a professor of criminal justice at Columbia College in Missouri, testified for the prosecution that police officers who arrest a suspect have a “shared responsibility” to make sure that person is secured in the back of a police transport wagon. If the person complains of injuries, officers should immediately determine where the nearest hospital is and take the arrestee there.
Also on Tuesday, a crime scene technician, a crime lab serologist and a DNA expert each testified about their role in collecting and analyzing Freddie’s blood found in the back of the transport wagon. Read the rest of this entry
The jury has been seated; opening statements were made, and the prosecution’s first witness was called.
The trial of Baltimore police officer William Porter is underway.
No cameras or computers are allowed inside the courtroom. We will follow trial as best we can through Twitter and other sources and post it in the comment section. At the end of each trial day, I will attempt to obtain a video that recaps the day’s trial.
The below video recaps today’s hearing.
On April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray was arrested in Baltimore. He was placed unsecured in a police van and was unresponsive when it reached the jail. Freddie was taken to the hospital where he died on April 19, 2015. The coroner’s report found that Freddie suffered a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged 6 officers in the death of Freddie Gray. Pre-trial activity has included numerous motions filed by defense attorneys. The first of the officers to stand trial is William Porter. Jury selection began today. Porter is charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and assault.
Folks, this looks as if jury selection is going to be a long process, although Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams said that the trial would be over by December 17th. Read the rest of this entry
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake replaced the city’s police commissioner Wednesday after officials called for his resignation in the wake of a report by the city’s police union criticizing his handling of riots in April.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the mayor’s office said it had replaced Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts with Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
The announcement came the same day that the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police released a report highly critical of Batts’s handling of unrest in the city following the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old unarmed black man who died in police custody.
Batts was appointed police commissioner in September 2012 and previously served as chief of police in Oakland, Calif.
It’s no big deal, but because of some people promoting it as a lost for Baltimore’s State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, I thought it important to write this so those interested can discern fact from ignorance. It’s easier for me to understand the structures of courts than how Baltimore has its own State’s Attorney because in most states, State’s Attorneys are elected to represent a county and not a city.
Each state has its own court structure, and that structure can differ from state to state. For example, California has Superior Courts that in other states, are considered Circuit Courts. Pennsylvania has courts of Common Pleas, Commonwealth Courts, Superior Court, and a Supreme Court. In Maryland, there are District Courts and Circuit Courts. District Courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
The jurisdiction of the District Court is concurrent with that of the circuit court in criminal cases that are classified misdemeanors and certain felonies, in which the penalty may be confinement for 3 years or more or a fine of $2,500 or more. The District Court does not conduct jury trials.
The Circuit Court for Baltimore City is a State trial court of unlimited jurisdiction. It handles all types of cases and is divided into four main divisions: Family, Juvenile, Criminal, and Civil.
The charges against the six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray were filed in the District Court. It is in that court that State’s Attorney Mosby filed a motion for a gag order. However, the officers were indicted and the cases transferred to the Circuit Court on May 21, 2015.
Here is the press conference announcing probable cause for the arrest of all 6 officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray.
Lt. Brian Rice, who was the first to make eye contact with Freddie Gray, has been suspended twice from the Baltimore police force for personal reasons, including mental health and an protective order.
In 2012, Lt. Brian Rice was hospitalized for a mental health concern. It happens. People have circumstantial and other types of depression and mental health issues. The main thing is that they seek and receive help. Another main thing too, is that they re-evaluate their profession and if necessary, go into another line of work.
Lt. Brian Rice has a son with Karen McAleer. The Associated Press reached out to talk to Karen McAleer, but she declined to speak. In 2012, McAleer contacted police for a welfare check on Lt. Brian Rice. Allegedly, Rice said he “could not continue to go on like this” and threatened to commit an act that was censored in the public version of a report obtained by the AP from the Carroll County, Maryland, Sheriff’s Office.
Citing “credible information,” deputies confiscated both Rice’s official and personal guns, called his commanding officer and transported Rice to the Carroll Hospital Center. The weapons included his .40-caliber police pistol, a 9 mm handgun, an AK-47-style rifle, a .22-caliber rifle and two shotguns. Read the rest of this entry
Because of numerous reports of police brutality and use of excessive force, many have asked why the good cops do not report the bad ones.
I no longer need to address that in the comment section of this blog.
Now former Baltimore police detective Joe Crystal tells his story in the following video. Joe has sued both the Baltimore Police Department and the police commissioner for not protecting him from retaliation.