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Baltimore officers charged in Freddie Gray case on paid administrative duty pending internal review

The 6 Baltimore police officers cleared in the Freddie Gray case are on paid administrative duty.

The six officers charged in Freddie Gray's arrest and death have been assigned to paid administrative duties until the completion of internal affairs reviews that will determine whether they should be fired or disciplined.

Officer William Porter and Sgt. Alicia White were suspended without pay until Wednesday, when Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby dropped all charges against them and Officer Garrett Miller, whose trial was set to begin Wednesday. Miller has been receiving pay for performing administrative duties.

Police in Montgomery County, with help from Howard County officers, will conduct the administrative review. Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis asked the agencies to lead the reviews in an attempt to assure the public that the process would be fair and objective.

The police union president, Lt. Gene Ryan, said the Fraternal Order of Police continues to back the six officers and hopes they can return to full duty with the department soon.

"Our union will continue to support our officers during the administrative hearings, and we believe these good officers will be returned to fulfilling their duties with the Baltimore City Police Department and serving the citizens of Baltimore every day," Ryan said Wednesday.

The administrative reviews for Lt. Brian Rice and Officers Caesar Goodson Jr. and Edward Nero — all of whom were found not guilty of all charges by Circuit Judge Barry Williams — were already underway. With Mosby's decision to end the remaining criminal proceedings, the reviews are expected to begin for Miller, Porter and White.

All of the officers pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges. They will be compelled to cooperate with the administrative reviews.

Gray, 25, died in April 2015 after suffering a severe spinal cord injury in police custody.

As part of the internal investigation, officers in Montgomery and Howard counties will interview witnesses and Baltimore police officers, as well as examine city policies to decide whether any of the officers broke department rules during Gray's arrest and transport.

The outside agencies will issue a recommendation to Davis, who will decide what discipline the officers may face. If found guilty, the officers could challenge any disciplinary action by requesting a trial board of fellow officers.

A review by The Baltimore Sun found misconduct allegations are not sustained in most cases and officers are not disciplined.

Nearly nine out of 10 internal investigations by Montgomery County police do not result in officers being reprimanded or fired. The rate at which officers face discipline is roughly the same nationally and slightly higher in Baltimore.

It is unclear what information will ultimately be made available to the public following the officers' administrative reviews. Police say privacy laws prohibit them from releasing the results of an officer's internal affairs review to the public.

The four officers who were charged with felonies in the Gray case had been suspended without pay. While they can seek back pay, their police powers will remain suspended until the conclusion of their administrative reviews.

The officers not charged with felonies had been assigned to administrative duties until all of the internal affairs investigations are completed. Such duties don't require officers to exercise police powers, such as make arrests.

Nero, whose salary was $55,625 last year, was acquitted in May of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office charges. He has remained on paid administrative duties,

The city agreed to pay Goodson more than $87,000 for back pay after he was found not guilty in June of second-degree murder and other charges.

Rice was cleared this month of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. He started receiving his regular wage — about $100,000 a year — following his acquittal.

Porter and White had been suspended without pay, awaiting their trials.

The Board of Estimates will decide whether the officers will receive back pay, a police spokesman said.

Porter's case, the first to go to trial, ended in a mistrial in December. He was to be retried in September. He was accused of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and other charges.

White's trial was scheduled for October. She faced involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and other charges.

Miller and Porter each make about $60,000 a year. White's salary is about $80,000.

Baltimore Sun reporters Pamela Wood and Wyatt Massey contributed to this article.

ywenger@baltsun.com

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