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Freddie Gray case: Implications of the charges against the officers




Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore state's attorney, speaks during a media availability, Friday, May 1, 2015 in Baltimore.  Mosby announced criminal charges against all six officers suspended after Freddie Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore state's attorney, speaks during a media availability, Friday, May 1, 2015 in Baltimore. Mosby announced criminal charges against all six officers suspended after Freddie Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP

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The Freddie Gray case took a dramatic turn Friday morning, when six officers were charged in Gray's death.

Baltimore State Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced the list of charges, ranging from manslaughter and assault to second-degree depraved heart murder.

The state alleges that the officers failed to secure Gray in the back of the police van after he was handcuffed and shackled. They have also been charged with illegally arresting Gray without probable cause, and denying multiple requests for medical attention. 

Melech Thomas is a community activist in Baltimore. He tells Take Two that many people in the community are elated:

“Some police departments have this tactic called a 'rough ride,'" he explained to Take Two. “[When] a suspect gives the police a hard time, they put them in the back of the paddy wagon, [and] they refuse to put a seat belt around the person. And they’re not allowed to get any medical attention until they finally get to the precinct. Finally, this has come back to bite the police. … Now we’re waiting to see if the conviction is going to be served.”

Connie Rice is a longtime civil rights attorney and co-director of the Advancement Project. She says she’s surprised that the indictments came so swiftly:

“Most prosecutors wait for the police report before they even begin an investigation. This prosecutor not only didn’t wait for the police report, she went out and got a separate agency and did her own independent investigation. That’s very unusual.”

Professor Jody Armour with the USC Gould School of Law says the second-degree depraved heart murder charge against one officer says a lot about what the investigation into Gray’s death revealed:

“You had to have to have malice in your heart before could be guilty of murder. If you kill without malice, you’re just guilty of manslaughter. So malice for murder when you’re talking about murder [means] you acted with a depraved heart. You were reckless, you generated excessive risk and you did so with a malignant and depraved and indifferent heart. “

Eugene O’Donnell is a former police officer with the NYPD and teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and he says Gray’s death exposed a systematic flaw with way Baltimore operates:

“Ultimately, I don’t know if they’re gonna prove these charges, all of them or some of them, but I do know that we’re looking at a spectacular institutional failure in the city of Baltimore, in the police department and I think city hall. A situation in which somebody is arrested for running … where are the managers? Where are the leaders? Who are the people that are supposed to step in and say, ‘end this now. Stop this now. Release this guy?’’

Press the play button above to hear more analysis on the charges announced against six officers in Baltimore today.