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  September 13, 2017

Trump's Justice Department Drops Investigation into the Death of Freddie Gray

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the US Department of Justice will not pursue criminal civil rights charges against the six officers who had been charged in connection with Gray's in-custody death
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TAYA GRAHAM: This is Taya Graham reporting for the Real News Network in Baltimore City, Maryland. I'm here with breaking news into the Department of Justice investigation into the death of Freddie Gray.

The Baltimore Sun reported that the Justice Department will not pursue civil rights charges against the six officers who had been charged in Gray's death in 2015. The Justice Department initiated the investigation under President Obama in 2015, shortly after the officers were criminally charged by city prosecutor Marilyn Mosby. The probe was focused on if the officers violated Gray's rights when he died in the back of the police van, after his spine was severed on route to jail.

The move is consistent with the Trump administration's stance that it will temper Justice Department scrutiny initiated under Obama.

TAYA GRAHAM: Now, what announcement did the Department of Justice made?

STEPHEN JANIS: Well, it wasn't announced specifically officially from the Department of Justice, but sources told the Baltimore Sun that the Department of Justice will not be pursuing civil rights charges against the six officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. What this means is that there no more criminal investigation. During the previous Obama administration, the Justice Department had initiated an investigation into the violation of civil rights. Remember that when the Justice Department does a criminal investigation, it has to do something with the constitutionality of the crime, so in this case it was to determine whether the officers violated Freddie Gray's civil rights.

This basically ends any sort of criminal investigation into the death of Freddie Gray.

TAYA GRAHAM: Is there anything next? Are there any moves for lawyers from the ACLU or Department of Justice, or even in a civil case? Is there anything left to do?

STEPHEN JANIS: Remember, the officers were tried and found not guilty, three or four of them, four of them. Then the state's attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped the charges. The only thing remaining to happen in terms of, and this would be an administrative hearing, would be the five officers of the six who were investigated on internal disciplinary charges, which are administrative charges, based on the Baltimore City Police policy, have requested a trial board, which is an administrative body that determines whether or not the judgments against them were actually correct. It's like an administrative hearing where you get to challenge your punishment.

An independent investigation done by the Montgomery County Police determined that three of the officers should be fired for violating policy and two or three other types of discipline. Well, the officers have challenged that. The only thing that we'll have left to see in terms of this process would be open disciplinary hearings, call the trial board, here at City Hall. Other than that, this is pretty much over. I mean, obviously the family settled with the city, for $6 million for a civil suit, but in terms of the criminal, any possibility of criminal prosecution in this case is now over.

TAYA GRAHAM: Thank you. This Taya Graham and Stephen Janis reporting for the Real News Network in Baltimore City, Maryland.


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