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Baltimore prosecutors reached out to, did not use state police in Freddie Gray investigation

Baltimore prosecutors reached out to but did not use state police in Freddie Gray investigation.

Baltimore prosecutors investigating the death of Freddie Gray last year reached out to Maryland State Police for assistance but ultimately did not use them on the case.

Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley confirmed that prosecutors asked state police shortly after Gray's death to attend a meeting about the case. Prosecutors then asked state police to assist in the investigation.

"The Baltimore State's Attorney's Office had a limited request for the Maryland State Police to be involved in the service of search warrants and to provide technical assistance," Shipley said. "The Maryland State Police agreed to provide technical assistance to the State's Attorney's Office that would include the expertise of our Computer Crimes Unit."

"Ultimately, we were not called upon to provide any assistance."

The State's Attorney's Office said that "while the State Police did offer to provide some assistance, what they were willing to do was minimum and things we were able to do quicker with our known investigators."

State police agreed, saying they did not serve warrants because the State's Attorney's Office opted to use their own investigators. But in a radio interview on Friday, Chief Deputy Michael Schatzow cited "misinformation" about the involvement of state police, saying prosecutors gave them a two-page task list which state police declined to take on.

"We were looking for help from an outside agency, and we couldn't get it," Schatzow told WBAL radio.

Since dropping charges against the remaining officers charged in Gray's death, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby has spoken out the role of city police in the investigation and called for independent investigation resources to aid prosecutors.

"Whether investigating, interrogating, testifying, corroborating or even complying with the state, we've all bore witness to an inherent bias that is a direct result of when police themselves," Mosby said.

"After much thought and prayer it has become clear to me that not being able to work with an independent investigatory agency at the very start" and other reforms, Mosby said, "… we could try this case a 100 times, and cases just like it, and we would still end up with the same result."

When she announced the charges last May, Mosby said prosecutors had conducted a "comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation," and prosecutors maintain that they used in-house investigators to perform tasks such as obtaining pictures and videos and canvassing the Sandtown neighborhood for witnesses.

A top commander with the Baltimore Sheriff's Office signed the charging documents for the officers, but said recently in an affidavit that he and his office "no involvement in the investigation whatsoever."

"I was ... presented with a narrative that formed the basis of the application for the statement of charges that I completed," said Cogen, who swore out the warrants. "The facts, information and legal conclusions contained within ... as well as the charges lodged against plaintiff came entirely from members of the State's Attorney's Office."

On Wednesday, attorneys for the accused officers said prosecutors had declined help from the FBI and state police. Prosecutors denied that they were in contact with the FBI.

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

Mosby said she is drafting plans to help prosecutors gain the power to utilize independent investigators, saying police have an inherent conflict of interest in investigating their colleagues or friends.

"I have a number of ideas that I'm not yet going to talk about," she said. "I have it all written out. I have it all planned."

jfenton@baltsun.com

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