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Obama: Gray truth must come out

Published 01/05/2015

A protester argues with a policeman as officers line up in riot gear in Baltimore (AP)
A protester argues with a policeman as officers line up in riot gear in Baltimore (AP)

US President Barack Obama says it is "absolutely vital" that the truth about what happened to Freddie Gray comes out.

Mr Obama spoke shortly after Baltimore's top prosecutor announced criminal charges against the six police officers who were suspended after the 25-year-old Baltimore man suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody.

His death under mysterious circumstances angered the community and led to violent protests, including looting and fires, after his funeral earlier this week.

Mr Obama says justice needs to be served and all the evidence needs to be presented. He says the individuals facing charges are entitled to due process.

He added that what the people of Baltimore want most is the truth.

Mr Gray's arrest was illegal and his treatment in custody amounted to murder and manslaughter, Maryland's state attorney Marilyn Mosby said earlier.

The announcement came only hours after Ms Mosby received the results of a police investigation.

"Mr Gray's death was a homicide," she declared.

Ms Mosby announced the stiffest charge - second-degree "depraved heart" murder - against the driver of the police van. Other officers face charges of involuntary manslaughter, assault and illegal arrest.

She said the knife officers accused Mr Gray of illegally carrying clipped inside his trouser pocket was in fact a legal knife, and there was no justification for his arrest.

Ms Mosby said she comes from five generations of police officers and that the charges against these six officers should in no way damage the relationship between police and prosecutors in Baltimore.

Her announcement came as the city braced itself for two more waves of protests on Friday and Saturday focused on the case.

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