Evan Perez, CNN, May 6, 2015
The Baltimore police investigation into the death of Freddie Gray doesn’t support some of the charges, including the most serious, filed by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney, potentially allowing lawyers representing the police officers the opportunity to undercut the prosecution, according to officials briefed on the separate probes conducted by the State’s Attorney and police.
Already, defense attorneys are filing motions seeking to exploit differences between the separate state attorney and police investigations.
Lawyers for two officers have challenged a key finding of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s case: that a knife found on Freddie Gray was legal in Maryland and therefore the officers didn’t have a right to arrest Gray. The police investigation found that the knife is illegal under Baltimore city code.
Officials familiar with the probes also say the homicide investigation run by police investigators at most contemplated a manslaughter charge, not second degree murder as Mosby charged one of the officers, Caesar Goodson. To win conviction for murder, prosecutors must prove intent to kill. Manslaughter relates to unintentional killings.
In addition, homicide investigators who were briefed by the medical examiner’s office believed the examiner’s autopsy report would likely find the cause of death to fall short of homicide, according to one official familiar with the case.
Instead, Mosby said that the medical examiner concluded that Gray’s death was a homicide and that Gray’s fatal injury to the head occurred in a police transport van that was taking him to the police precinct.
According to an official with Maryland’s office of the chief medical examiner, where Gray’s autopsy was performed, information was shared with police investigators throughout the process, a common practice. But the official said there is only one conclusion on manner of death and that was contained in the final autopsy report delivered to Mosby on the same day she announced her decision to bring charges.
That has lead to concerns among some city officials that if Mosby’s case fails to hold up, community reaction could explode again.
“If this case falls apart, then does Baltimore burn?” one official said.