Several years after facing manslaughter and other charges in the 2015 deadly arrest of Freddie Gray, Alicia White was promoted Friday from lieutenant to captain, continuing to climb the ranks inside the Baltimore Police Department.
She will serve as captain of the department’s Performance Standards Section, which conducts audits and inspections to make sure the agency is properly following its policies. The West Baltimore native served in a similar role before her promotion.
White was among six officers charged in the Freddie Gray case by Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. None were convicted, and all ultimately returned to the department after internal investigations quietly concluded. Gray died in April 2015 after suffering a severe spinal cord injury inside a police van.
Federal prosecutors declined to bring charges in the case following an independent Justice Department investigation.
In a 2016 interview with The Baltimore Sun, after her state charges were dropped, White defended her actions.
“I still believe that, when I went to work that day, I did everything that I was trained to do,” she said. “Unfortunately, that day someone lost their life. But I feel like everything I was trained to do, I did.”
White responded to the scene after Gray was already in police custody, to investigate complaints about the arrest, officials have said. By the time White first encountered Gray, he was already injured and dying, Mosby said in announcing the charges. She said White was responsible for investigating the arrest but only “spoke to the back of Mr. Gray’s head.” Mosby said White failed to summon a medic or properly assess his injuries.
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White said she arrived on scene, saw Gray kneeling in the police wagon and asked him whether there was a problem. He didn’t really respond, White later told investigators, which she took to mean he didn’t want to cooperate. She said she didn’t see a reason to seek medical attention at the time.
Gray was not secured by a seat belt in the wagon, against department rules. And when the van arrived at the Western District, officers said they found Gray not breathing in the back. That’s when White called for a medic. Gray died from his injuries a week later.
White joined the Baltimore Police Department in 2010, a decision based in her desire to help people in her city, she said in 2016.
“I thought, ‘There has to be a way to give back and serve. What better place than my own community?’” she said.
After serving for years in the city’s Northeast District, she was promoted to supervisor in January 2015 — just a few months before the tragic incident that would threaten to end her law enforcement career — and transferred to her home district of West Baltimore. She had never been suspended by the Police Department for disciplinary reasons before the Gray case.
She said in 2016 that she was eager to get back to work as a Baltimore Police officer.
“I know her character,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said at the time, when he was on City Council and knew White because she was assigned to patrol his neighborhood. “This is someone I trust with my life and, more importantly, that we entrust with the lives of young people in the neighborhood.”