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Freddie Gray death: Six Baltimore police officers face criminal charges – including murder and manslaughter

BY ANDREW BUNCOMBE AND PAYTON GUION IN NEW YORK

Published 01/05/2015

Protesters on the west side of Manhattan in New York as people gathered in several areas to protest over the death of Freddie Gray, a Baltimore man who was critically injured in police custody (AP)
Protesters on the west side of Manhattan in New York as people gathered in several areas to protest over the death of Freddie Gray, a Baltimore man who was critically injured in police custody (AP)
Mourners pay their respects at the casket of Freddie Gray before his funeral at New Shiloh Baptist Church April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Caira Byrd holds a placard supporting Freddie Gray outside Vaughn Greene Funeral Home during his wake in Baltimore (AP)
A man shields himself after being struck during a march to Baltimore's City Hall for Freddie Gray, who died in police custody (AP)
Protesters rally outside Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray. (AP)

The drama surrounding the death of a young black man in police custody in Baltimore has taken a new and unexpected twist after it was announced that charges were being brought against six officers, one of whom was being charged with murder.

In an surprise announcement that will likely help defuse tensions in Baltimore and other cities that has seen angry protests, a state prosecutor said warrants had already been announced for the officers who seized 25-year-old Freddie Gray. One of the officers faces up to 30 years imprisonment if convicted.

“It is my duty to examine the evidence and apply this to the case to decide whether an individual should be charged,” said Marilyn Mosby, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney, as cheers erupted from a gathered crowd.

“The finding of our comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation, coupled with the medical examiner’s determination, is that Mr Gray’s death was a homicide. We have probable cause to file criminal charges.”

She added: “Mr Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the Baltimore Police Department wagon.”

Mr Gray, 25, was detained by officers on April 12 and died a week later after his spinal cord was severed when he was taken into custody. The city of Baltimore has simmered ever since.

His death triggered peaceful protests and his funeral on Monday was followed by riots in parts of the city that saw cars and businesses set on fire and crowds of youths hurl stones and bottles at police.

Ms Mosby’s announcement on Friday morning stunned most people, coming as it did without warning and following a series of reports that suggested a preliminary inquiry had found Mr Gray may even have intentionally harmed himself. Indeed, the news came as police and national guard troops – and police in other cities - were bracing for a weekend of demonstrations.

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Bloods and the Crips unite in Baltimore to 'stop killing one another and rebuild the community'. The Crips, Bloods, BGF and other major gangs reportedly called a truce during the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore.
Bloods and the Crips unite in Baltimore to 'stop killing one another and rebuild the community'. The Crips, Bloods, BGF and other major gangs reportedly called a truce during the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore.
A protestor gestures before riot police on April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland on April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Violent street clashes erupted in Baltimore after friends and family gathered for the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose death in custody triggered a fresh wave of protests over US police tactics. Police said at least seven officers were injured -- one of them was unresponsive -- as youths hurled bricks and bottles and destroyed at least one police vehicle in the vicinity of the shopping mall not far from the church where the funeral took place. AFP PHOTO / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: A woman faces down a line of Baltimore Police officers in riot gear during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, who was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A man watches after throwing an object at police near Mondawmin Mall on April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Violent street clashes erupted in Baltimore after friends and family gathered for the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose death in custody triggered a fresh wave of protests over US police tactics. Police said at least seven officers were injured -- one of them was unresponsive -- as youths hurled bricks and bottles and destroyed at least one police vehicle in the vicinity of the shopping mall not far from the church where the funeral took place. AFP PHOTO / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Baltimore police officers clash with protesters in the streets near Mondawmin Mall April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Violent street clashes erupted in Baltimore on Monday after friends and family gathered for the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose death in custody triggered a fresh wave of protests over US police tactics. Police said at least seven officers were injured -- one of them was unresponsive -- as youths hurled bricks and bottles and destroyed at least one police vehicle in the vicinity of the shopping mall not far from the church where the funeral took place. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
A man arrives for the funeral of Freddie Grey at New Shiloh Baptist Church April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Family and friends are expected Monday at the funeral of Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died April 19 after an encounter April 12 with police left him with grave spinal injuries. PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters break the window of a police car during a demonstration in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Protesters targeted businesses and smashed police cars in downtown Baltimore on Saturday as the biggest demonstration yet over the death of Gray in police custody turned violent. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDSAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters yell at riot police during a demonstration in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Protesters targeted businesses and smashed police cars in downtown Baltimore on Saturday as the biggest demonstration yet over the death of Gray in police custody turned violent. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDSAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
A protester yells at police during a demonstration in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Protesters targeted businesses and smashed police cars in downtown Baltimore on Saturday as the biggest demonstration yet over the death of Gray in police custody turned violent. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDSAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
A protester shouts during a rally in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Protesters targeted businesses and smashed police cars in downtown Baltimore on Saturday as the biggest demonstration yet over the death of Gray in police custody turned violent. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDSAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Riot police hold their position during a protest in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Protesters targeted businesses and smashed police cars in downtown Baltimore on Saturday as the biggest demonstration yet over the death of Gray in police custody turned violent. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDSAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters push against riot police during a rally in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Protesters targeted businesses and smashed police cars in downtown Baltimore on Saturday as the biggest demonstration yet over the death of Gray in police custody turned violent. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDSAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
A demonstrator uses a traffic cone to beak the window of a Baltimore Police car as they protest the death Freddie Gray, an African American man who died of spinal cord injuries in police custody, in Baltimore, Maryland, April 25, 2015. Protesters returned to Baltimore's streets Saturday to vent outrage over the death of Gray on April 12. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
A protester gestures at police during a rally in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Organizers anticipated the biggest outpouring of public anger since Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12, only to die in a coma seven days later from severe spinal injuries. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDSAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters march during a rally in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Organizers anticipated the biggest outpouring of public anger since Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12, only to die in a coma seven days later from severe spinal injuries. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDSAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters march during a rally in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Organizers anticipated the biggest outpouring of public anger since Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12, only to die in a coma seven days later from severe spinal injuries. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDSAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters march during a rally in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Organizers anticipated the biggest outpouring of public anger since Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12, only to die in a coma seven days later from severe spinal injuries. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDSAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters march during a rally in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Organizers anticipated the biggest outpouring of public anger since Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12, only to die in a coma seven days later from severe spinal injuries. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDSAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Demonstrators march through the streets protesting the death Freddie Gray, an African American man who died of spinal cord injuries in police custody, Maryland, April 25, 2015. Organizers anticipated the biggest outpouring of public anger since Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
A demonstrator marches through the streets protesting the death Freddie Gray, an African American man who died of spinal cord injuries in police custody, in Baltimore, Maryland, April 25, 2015. Organizers anticipated the biggest outpouring of public anger since Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Bloods and Crips united: 'Those brothers demonstrated they can be united for a common good'
Smoke billows from a CVS Pharmacy store in Baltimore on Monday, April 27, 2015. Demonstrators clashed with police after the funeral of Freddie Gray. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (AP Photo/Juliet Linderman)
A protestor holds a sign outside of Baltimore's City Hall before a march for Freddie Gray, Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A protestor lays in the middle of a street during a march for Freddie Gray, Saturday, April 25, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Angela Hazel reacts during a moment of silence before a protest march for Freddie Gray, Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal trauma a week after being arrested by a group of officers, hoisted into police van and driven to a Baltimore station. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A demonstrator raises his fist as police stand in formation as a store burns, Monday, April 27, 2015, during unrest following the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
TOPSHOTS Mourners pay their respects at the casket of Freddie Gray before his funeral at New Shiloh Baptist Church April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Family members and friends are expected to turn out in large numbers Monday at the funeral of Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died April 19 after an encounter April 12 with police left him with grave spinal injuries. PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Baltimore man created a one-man barrier between protesters and officers
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: A demonstrator faces off with a line of Baltimore Police officers at the corner of Pennsylvania and North avenues during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, who was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore residents lock arms and form a line opposing police during violent protests at the corner of Pennsylvania and North avenues following the funeral of Freddie Gray April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, who was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore residents lock arms and form a line opposing police during violent protests at the corner of Pennsylvania and North avenues following the funeral of Freddie Gray April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, who was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: A man has his eyes cleaned after he was pepper sprayed by the Baltimore Police at the corner of Pennsylvania and North avenues during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, who was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: A man has his eyes cleaned after he was pepper sprayed by the Baltimore Police at the corner of Pennsylvania and North avenues during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, who was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: A woman faces down a line of Baltimore Police officers in riot gear during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, who was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: With Baltimore Police officers in riot gear lining the street, a man stands at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and North Avenue , April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Riots have erupted in Baltimore following the funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Protestors surround a Baltimore Police officer near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody, was held on Monday morning. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: People in a home look on as Baltimore Police officers stand in the middle of Reisterstown Road near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody, was held on Monday morning. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Police officers react to rocks that were thrown on Reisterstown Road near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody, was held on Monday morning. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Police officers in riot gear walk toward protestors along Reisterstown Road near Mondawmin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. A group of young protestors clashed with police in the streets near Mondawmin Mall in the afternoon following Freddie Gray's funeral. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Police officers walk in formation on Reisterstown Road near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody, was held on Monday morning. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Police officers arrest a man near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody, was held on Monday morning. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Police officers arrest a man near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody, was held on Monday morning. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Police officers stand guard near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody, was held on Monday morning. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Police officers push back a protestor on Reisterstown Road near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody, was held on Monday morning. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Police officers confront protestors on Reisterstown Road near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody, was held on Monday morning. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: A Baltimore Police officers in riot gear stand in formation near protestors along Reisterstown Road near Mondawmin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. A group of young protestors clashed with police in the streets near Mondawmin Mall in the afternoon following Freddie Gray's funeral. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Police officers in riot gear look toward protestors along Reisterstown Road near Mondawmin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. A group of young protestors clashed with police in the streets near Mondawmin Mall in the afternoon following Freddie Gray's funeral. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: A Baltimore Police officer checks on a man who was injured along Reisterstown Road near Mondawmin Mall during a protest April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. A group of young protestors clashed with police in the streets near Mondawmin Mall in the afternoon following Freddie Gray's funeral. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts chases away protestors in a parking lot on Reisterstown Road near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody, was held on Monday morning. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Friends and relatives say their last goodbyes to Freddie Gray during his graveside service at the Woodland Cemetery April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Friends and relatives lay flowers on and kiss Freddie Gray's casket before it is lowered into the ground at the Woodland Cemetery April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: A young woman leaves a lipstick print after kssing Freddie Gray's casket before it is lowered into the ground at Woodlawn Cemetery April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Thousands sing and pray during Freddie Gray's funeral at the New Shiloh Baptist Church during his funeral April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Mourners sing and pray during Freddie Gray's funeral at the New Shiloh Baptist Church during his funeral April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Pallbearers carry the casket of Freddie Gray to the hearse after his funeral service at New Shiloh Baptist April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: A mourner cries as she gives their condolences to members of Freddie Gray's family during his funeral at the New Shiloh Baptist Church during his funeral April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Mourners comfort one another during Freddie Gray's funeral at the New Shiloh Baptist Church during his funeral April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 26: Baltimore resident Caira Byrd encourages passing cars to honk while she protests in the middle of York Road near Vaughn Greene Funeral Services during the wake of Freddie Gray, April 26, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Funeral services for Gray, who died last April 16, while in police custody, will be held the morning of April 27, at New Shiloh Baptist Church. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 26: Baltimore resident Ricardo Flood holds a sign encouraging passing cars to honk while standing in the middle of York Road near Vaughn Greene Funeral Services during the wake of Freddie Gray, April 26, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Funeral services for Gray, who died last April 16, while in police custody, will be held the morning of April 27, at New Shiloh Baptist Church. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 25: Police in riot gear block a street during a march in honor of Freddie Gray on April 25, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side on April 12. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Those who had been protesting and campaigning in recent days welcomed the news and in some parts of Baltimore crowds gathered to cheer.

“This is a great day,” said local Congressman Elijah Cummins. “Even if we are in the evening of our lives, we want to make sure that our children have a better morning.”

The most serious charges – including one of so-called depraved heart murder – were levelled agaisnt Caesar Goodson, the driver of the police vehcicle into which Mr Gray had been pushed. He was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, assault and misconduct in office.

Lt Brian Rice was charged with manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment. Officer William Porter and Sgt Alicia White were each charged with manslaughter, assault and misconduct in office.

Meanwhile, officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller were charged with assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment.

Ms Mosby said the officers had failed to strap the young man into the police wagon and had repeatedly failed to seek medical attention for him after he suffered grievous injuries. She also said that a switchblade Mr Gray was carrying was legal under local law and that police therefore had no legitimate reason to arrest him.

The police union wrote to Ms Mosby’s office calling for the appointment of an independent probe and the Fraternal Order of Police’s local president, Gene Ryan, said the six charged officers were not responsible for Mr Gray’s death.

President Barack Obama said it was essential that all the evidence in the case was considered. “These individuals charged are entitled to due process and the rule of law."

Mr Mosby said warrants had already been issued for the arrest of the officers charged in the case, she said.

Source: Independent

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