The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”) applauds the decision made by a Baltimore grand jury to indict the six police officers charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray. Officers Caesar Goodson, William Porter, Garrett Miller, and Edward Nero, Sergeant Alicia White and Lieutenant Brian White will be arraigned on July 2. Similar to the charges Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby brought against them nearly three weeks ago — ranging from second-degree “depraved heart” murder, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment — the indictments are a step toward restoring faith in the legal process and represent the kind of systemic accountability LDF has been calling for since the investigation into Gray’s tragic death . LDF hopes that these indictments reverberate nationally in instances where police misconduct results in the death of unarmed persons and that thorough investigations and transparent proceedings become standard practice.
These indictments will also mark the first step in what could be a lengthy trial process, which LDF will monitor to its conclusion. In the meantime LDF continues to monitor and weigh-in on the Department of Justice (DOJ) federal investigation into the Baltimore Police Department to determine whether it has engaged in a “pattern or practice” of violating the Constitution and federal civil rights. LDF also continues to advocate for national use-of-force and pedestrian and traffic stop data collection and the adoption and implementation of scenario-based training on bias-free policing, the appropriate use of force, de-escalation tactics, as well as accountability systems to monitor and enforce this training.
“These indictments are the initial and necessary steps required to seek justice and to bring accountability to law enforcement officers in this case, said LDF President & Director Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill. The actions by State’s Attorney Mosby reflect the kind of engagement and decisiveness we should come to expect from the justice system and from our elected officials whose responsibility it is to protect the public and uphold the law. We are encouraged by what we have seen thus far and what this means for restoring faith and confidence in the criminal justice system as a response to the unfortunate death of Freddie Gray.”
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is not a part of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) although LDF was founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. Since 1957, LDF has been a completely separate organization. Please refer to us in all media attributions as the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund or “LDF”.