Baltimore State's Attorney's Marilyn J. Mosby answers questions at a press conference outside the War Memorial Building in which she announced charges against the six police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray.
Baltimore State's Attorney's Marilyn J. Mosby answers questions at a press conference outside the War Memorial Building in which she announced charges against the six police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

The speed with which Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby brought charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray surprised many — including Gray's family.

Within hours of receiving a medical examiner's determination that Gray's death was a homicide, Mosby was seeking arrest warrants for the officers involved in Gray's arrest and ride to the Western District police station April 12.

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Mosby said Friday that the charges were the result of a quiet investigation by prosecutors working 12- and 14-hour days alongside police investigators.

"This was not something that was quick, fast and in a hurry," Mosby said. "We reviewed hundreds of hours of camera footage and statements. This is something we worked really hard to get to the bottom of."

Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts gave the department until Friday to complete its investigation and turn it over to prosecutors.

As the deadline approached, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Batts and others worked to tamp down public expectation that the investigators' findings would be released on Friday, or that charges would be filed.

But Mosby said prosecutors had been working on a "parallel investigation" with police that included using city sheriff's deputies. She said she had not felt any pressure to finish the work in advance of the large protest against police violence scheduled for Saturday.

She did not inform Gray's family of the charges against the officers before she announced them publicly Friday morning in front of the Baltimore War Memorial.

"There are a certain number of individuals who usurp their authority and abuse the public trust," Mosby said. "Those are the individuals do a disservice to the really hard-working police officers who are sacrificing their lives."

As it happened, attorney Billy Murphy said, the family missed the announcement. Family members eventually watched a recording of it.

"We were in shock," Murphy said.

Rawlings-Blake and other city leaders were alerted to Mosby's decision about 30 minutes before her 10:30 a.m. news conference.

A spokesman for the mayor said she appreciated the fact that Mosby kept her investigation independent.

"There was nothing about it that caught us off-guard," spokesman Kevin Harris said.

Andy Alperstein, a lawyer who is not involved with the case, said he was "very surprised" that Mosby announced charges Friday.

"Obviously, some thought went into these charges," he said. "They've clearly been working very hard on this."

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Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this article.

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