I have written two prior essays on the Freddie Gray case out of Baltimore, Maryland. Number one is here, number two is here. Yesterday, the State’s Attorney, Marilyn J. Mosby, announced that warrants issued for the arrests of six Baltimore Police Officers in the alleged homicide of 25 year old Freddie Gray, a black man. Thanks to Drudge.com for the above mug photos of the accused. The names don’t matter at the moment. They’re all cops – some black, some white.
Speculation and conjecture are running rampant in the print and television media. Experts in various disciplines are on the air, telling us about the case when they have no more knowledge of what occurred than you or I have. They were not present in Baltimore when this thing happened and they are not in any way involved in the investigation.
Nonetheless, the news outlets are parading them before us, between shots of the fires, fights and looting in downtown Baltimore during the past week’s riots.
The simple fact is that we still don’t know exactly what happened. We have no official police documents to read, no eyewitness statements, no forensic evidence analysis reports, no postmortem examination report – nothing. We have nothing but a feeding frenzy of an American broadcast media corps and angry mobs of rioters who think they know the truth about Mr. Gray’s death – and they know nothing of the truth. Ms. Mosby’s statement yesterday did little to remedy that situation:
We still don’t know precisely how the incident began. We know from Ms. Mosby’s summation that there was alleged eye contact between bicycle patrol officers and Mr. Gray, then at some subsequent point a foot pursuit, for what reasons Ms. Mosby didn’t tell us. We don’t know why Mr. Gray was arrested. We don’t know how Mr. Gray was injured. What we do have is a sketchy summation of the case and specific reading of the charges, given by a State’s Attorney, which provided very little detail about the alleged illegality of Mr. Gray’s arrest, the proximate cause of how and why he died, or any facts in support of the charges and arrests of the officers who are now defendants in a murder case.
Ms. Mosby made mention of the unused seat belt issue numerous times during her summation. I lost count at four.
I’ll bet we won’t get any of the vital detailed factual material for a long, long time. That will all come out during pre-trial hearings and during the trial itself. And until I know more of the facts of the case, I’m not rendering any opinions about the men and the woman who stand accused.
Remember, much of the original media and prosecutorial information which was published about the Trayvon Martin case and the Michael Brown case turned out to be patently untrue, fueled by the frenzy for ever-higher broadcast ratings. The Zimmerman Affidavit, about which I wrote this post, was particularly troublesome in its mendacity and speculation.
We shall now see how the Freddie Gray case unfolds in Court.