Carroll sheriff questions why Baltimore officers weren't indicted

Carroll sheriff questions why Baltimore officers weren't indicted

Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees joined others who questioned why Baltimore's top prosecutor charged the six officers in the Freddie Gray case so quickly rather than taking the time to seek an indictment.

"Why wasn't this case sent to a grand jury?" DeWees asked, adding that he hasn't seen the evidence against the officers.


DeWees echoed other law enforcement officials who said an outside investigation should have occurred before any decisions were made.

Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby brought charges against the officers — including one with Carroll County ties — after receiving the medical examiner's report and the police department's initial investigation.

But a lawyer hired by the police union insisted the officers did nothing wrong. Attorney Michael Davey said Friday that Mosby has committed "an egregious rush to judgment."

"We have grave concerns about the fairness and integrity of the prosecution of our officers," Davey said.

Mosby rejected a police union request to step aside and appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case, and said honorable police officers should have no problem working with prosecutors in Baltimore.

Other law enforcement veterans worried that the charges could have a chilling effect. Robert Leight, a former detective in Pennsylvania who has worked for the FBI and as a federal prosecutor and defense attorney, said "the biggest danger is that the police officer will not properly perform his duties."

"It puts him at risk, it puts the other officers around him at risk and it puts the public at risk," Leight said. "A police officer must react instinctively as he has been trained. If a police officer first thinks about what liabilities he will be facing, it's too late."

One of the officers charged, Lt. Brian Rice, maintains a residence in Westminster, although court records in the Gray case indicate a house in Brunswick. A Maryland Property Tax Records search show both are listed to Rice as a primary residence, although another individual is listed on the Bruckswick property.

Rice faces charges of manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment. He was released after posting $350,000 bond Friday night.

Rice was on bike patrol when he made eye contact with Freddie Gray on a Baltimore street April 12. Gray ran, and Rice pursued him. Bike patrol officers Garrett Miller and Edward Nero joined the pursuit.

A Times reporter visited Rice's Westminster home Friday afternoon, but no one answered the door of the single-family home, even though a truck parked in the driveway and another vehicle with out-of-state tags parked in front. Several neighbors did not respond to knocks on the door, and two others who were aware Rice had been charged refused to comment.

Visits were also made to the homes of Rice's ex-girlfriend Karyn Crisafulli, a Westminster resident who is also a Baltimore City police officer, and his ex-wife Amy Rice, a Manchester resident, but no one answered the door at these locations. According to Carroll County Circuit Court documents, Crisafulli filed for a name change from McAleer to Crisafulli in March and the petition was granted Thursday.

Rice, 41, is the most senior officer to be charged. He joined the police force in 1997 and was promoted to lieutenant in 2011, police said. Records obtained by the Associated Press from a sheriff's department and court show he was hospitalized in April 2012 due to concerns about his mental health. Worries about his stability led deputies to confiscate both his official and personal guns, and his commanding officer was called. It was not immediately clear whether or when all of Rice's guns were returned.

State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Gray's arrest was illegal and unjustified, and his neck was broken because he was handcuffed, shackled and placed head-first into a police van, where his pleas for medical attention were repeatedly ignored as he bounced around inside the small metal box.


The swiftness of her announcement, less than a day after receiving the police department's internal review and official autopsy results, took the city by surprise. So too did her detailed description, based in part on her office's independent investigation, of the evidence supporting probable cause to charge all six officers with felonies.

The police had no reason to stop or chase Gray, Mosby said. They falsely accused him of having an illegal switchblade when in fact it was a legal pocketknife. The van driver and the other officers failed to strap him down with a seatbelt, a direct violation of department policy, and they ignored Gray's repeated pleas for medical attention, even rerouting the van to pick up another passenger.

The officers missed five opportunities to help an injured and falsely imprisoned detainee before he arrived at the police station no longer breathing, she said. Along the way, "Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD wagon," she concluded.

Her announcement triggered celebrations across the same West Baltimore streets that were smoldering just four days earlier, when Gray's funeral led to riots and looting.

Times reporters Heather Cobun and Wiley Hayes, and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

The charges

Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., 45, who was the driver of a police van that carried Gray through the streets of Baltimore, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault, two vehicular manslaughter charges and misconduct in office.

Officer William Porter, 25, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Lt. Brian Rice, 41, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Sgt. Alicia White, 30, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Officer Edward Nero, 29, was charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Officer Garrett Miller, 26, was charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment.

If convicted of all charges, Goodson would face up to 63 years in prison, Rice would face up to 30 years, and Porter, Nero, Miller and White would face up to 20 years.

The Baltimore Sun