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Breaking: Justice Department Makes Shocking Decision In Police Brutality Case

The officers from Baltimore will not face federal prosecution in the case of Freddie Gray, who died while riding in a police transport van, according to Reuters.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that its investigation of the April 2015 incident found no grounds for criminal civil-rights charges, the Baltimore Sun reported. Lauren Ehrsam, a department spokeswoman, declined to provide additional details.

The officers said they detained Gray because he ran from them “unprovoked.” They arrested the man when they discovered he was carrying an unlawful knife. Gray was reportedly handcuffed and chained to the van, but did not have a seat belt. During the trip, he suffered a fatal spinal-cord injury. Gray’s defenders alleged that Baltimore police often gave black suspects a “rough ride” in the vans. City prosecutors filed charges against six officers, but no one has been found guilty. Five of the cops are still waiting for internal disciplinary hearings.

The federal government got involved the day after Gray’s death, when Attorney General Loretta Lynch revealed that the civil-rights investigation was under way. An attorney for the Maryland city’s police union, Michael Davey, told the Sun on Tuesday: “We are pleased that the DOJ came to the conclusions that are being reported.”

Gray was a 25-year-old African-American man. His death intensified the divide between black residents and white police officers in the Maryland city, where a majority of the population is African-American. Protests broke out the following day on Baltimore’s streets, prompting authorities to impose a curfew and deploy the National Guard.

Reuters reported that last year, the Justice Department accused the Baltimore Police Department of consistently violating the civil rights of African-Americans. Federal agents cited a pattern of targeting black residents with strip searches, illegal traffic stops and the use of excessive force. In April, a federal judge approved the department’s request to revamp the department by instituting a new officer-training program and requiring protocols for the use of force.

The Trump administration had asked the court to hold off in permitting the Justice Department intervention. Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued that the federally mandated reforms would hamper Baltimore officers in their efforts to prevent crime.

The NAACP was among those who criticized the department’s decision to file no charges. The civil-rights organization’s Sherrilyn Ifill declared Tuesday that Baltimore “desperately needs” major changes in its police department. “We know that spines do not break without cause,” she said. “The DOJ and BPD’s credibility to make change a reality in Baltimore hinges not just on their ability to institute much needed reforms to police training, policies and practices, but also on their success in bringing to justice officers who abuse their power and take the lives of innocent residents. The onus is now on the BPD to hold these officers accountable at their disciplinary trials this fall and winter. Baltimore will be watching.”

A number of other large U.S. cities have experienced conflicts between police and minority communities in recent years. Rioting and looting have erupted in response to white officers killing black suspects.

Source: AOL
Photo: YouTube

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