Baltimore FOP president: 'Justice has been done' in dropping charges against police officers

With charges dropped, Baltimore FOP president says 'justice has been done' in the Freddie Gray case.

Representatives for the six officers who had been charged in the Freddie Gray case defended their clients and criticized State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

"Justice has been done," said Gene Ryan, president of FOP Lodge 3, which represents city police officers. "The evidence is proven. … There was no wrongdoing by any six of these officers."

Ryan said Mosby's comments earlier in the day were "outrageous and uncalled for and simply not true." He did not elaborate, saying he was traveling all morning and had not reviewed Mosby's statement.

The group of about 20 people crowded behind the podium at the FOP lodge in Hampden. All six officers were present, standing stone-faced across from the dozens of journalists who had packed the small room. Cameras clicked into action the moment the group walked through the door, their lives again captured on cellphone video as it was more than a year ago.

Attorney Ivan Bates, who represents Sgt. Alicia White, spoke on behalf of all of the officers and their attorneys.

"Not one of these officers woke up wanting to do anything negative to anyone," Bates said.

A "nightmare" began for the six officers when they were charged on May 1, 2015, he said.

"That's when we saw the state's attorney for Baltimore City walk down the steps and announce to the world the charges, and announce to the world what they felt they wanted the evidence to be," Bates said.

Bates alleged that Mosby's office ignored the Baltimore Police Department's investigation but didn't do its own thorough investigation. Bates said Mosby's office declined offers from the Maryland State Police and the FBI to help with the investigation.

"Everybody wanted to find out what happened to Freddie Gray," Bates said. "The Baltimore City Police, they did the investigation, and they said it was an accident," Bates said. "The Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office had an opportunity to do an in-depth investigation and they did not."

The city State's Attorney's Office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bates contended that Gray ran from police when they encountered him, because he and his friends planned to "re-up" to sell drugs that day. He said officers were justified in pursuing Gray and arresting him for having an illegal knife.

Bates said it was inconsistent that Mosby's team argued in court that the knife was legal, when at the time, prosecutors were handling 30 cases involving the same type of knife.

When asked what he thought had happened to Gray, Bates said that Gray fell and was injured between the fifth and sixth stops. He also alleged that once an ambulance was called, it was slow to arrive at the scene.

Bates also leveled criticism at Mosby for complaining about the gag order in the case, when it was the state that requested it.

Ryan said all of the officers hope to resume full duty with the Baltimore Police. None of the officers spoke during the news conference, with their lawyers citing the ongoing administrative investigation.

"They can go back to work. Most of them are working again, there are other duties that the department needs to be taken care of. They can go back to work and they will," Ryan said.

After about 15 minutes of talking to the media, the contingent of police officers, lawyers and union officials retreated to a back room in the FOP lodge to the sound of applause.

pwood@baltsun.com

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