Freddie Gray's family discusses charges, calls for peace

Freddie Gray's stepfather, Richard Shipley, speaks about the charges against officers in Gray's death.
Freddie Gray's stepfather, Richard Shipley, speaks about the charges against officers in Gray's death. (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

Freddie Gray's stepfather said Friday evening that his family was satisfied with the criminal charges brought against the six police officers who were involved in his stepson's arrest.

Richard Shipley made a plea for calm in the wake of the charges.

"Let us have peace in the pursuit of justice," he said during brief remarks at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History & Culture in downtown Baltimore.

"Whoever comes to our city -- a city that we love, a city that we live in -- come in peace. If you are not coming in peace, please don't come at all," Shipley said. "Because this city needs to get back to work. The last thing that Freddie would want is to see the hard-working people of Baltimore lose their jobs and businesses because of this."

Shipley was joined by other members of Freddie Gray's family, who elected not to speak to reporters: mother Gloria Darden, father Freddie Gray Sr. and twin sister Fredricka Gray.

The family learned of the criminal charges against the officers at the same time as the rest of the world, after Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby made the announcement in front of the War Memorial building on Friday morning.

In fact, said family attorney Billy Murphy, they missed the announcement and had to watch a tape of Mosby's press conference.

"We were in shock," Murphy said.

The family was not given advance notice of the charges, nor were they given additional information on Gray's injuries and at what point in his 45-minute interaction with police he suffered the injury that lead to his death -- a detail that was not made clear in Mosby's announcement.

Murphy said he and the family have been satisfied so far with Mosby and her office's investigation.

He said that there is now a window of opportunity to learn from Gray's death and reform policing in Baltimore. If done right, Murphy said, Baltimore could be a model for other American cities.

A "new culture of policing" is needed where good policing is honored and bad policing is punished, Murphy said.

He also said the "blue wall of silence" that is used to obscure police misdeeds needs to come down.

Murphy also cautioned that while the filing of criminal charges is "a measure of help," this is only the first step for justice for Gray -- both in the judicial system and in police reforms.

Murphy repeated Freddie Gray's family's call for only peaceful demonstrations in Baltimore this weekend. He praised the ministers and community leaders who have urged peaceful actions. He also praised young people for their leadership in recent days.

"Our young people must show us the way thoughtfully, creatively and peacefully," Murphy said.

He also asked reporters to leave the Gray family alone so that they can continue to grieve privately.

"Freddie was taken too early and too horrifically," Murphy said.

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