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Don't railroad Freddie Gray officers

A family picture of Freddie Gray.
A family picture of Freddie Gray. (Handout / Baltimore Sun)

In the recent article "Freddie Gray case trial boards to be prosecuted by outside lawyer, a former school board chair" (Oct. 5), The Baltimore Sun reports, "The disciplinary hearings are the last attempt to mete out justice for Gray, who died days after his spine was severely injured in the back of a police transport wagon." Those words reveal The Sun's bias toward punishing the police officers. Rigorous, prolonged investigations by city and federal prosecutors concluded without a criminal conviction. An injustice was not done to Freddie Gray, it is being imposed upon the officers. If The Sun fairly and consistently reported all the facts involved in this matter, the public would likely agree.

The article irresponsibly neglects to reiterate all the pertinent information. Mr. Gray was previously arrested numerous times for drug dealing and was pending court dates. In at least one prior case, he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine. While carrying a knife that was illegal for him to possess, he fled police and resisted arrest on the day he was placed in the police van. Davonte Roary, a man who was with Freddie Gray when arrested, later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in an unrelated case.

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Donta Allen, the other prisoner in the police van, initially said Gray had been "banging himself, like he was banging his head against the metal … like he was trying to knock himself out or something."

The argument that Gray's injuries were sustained because he was not seat-belted is based on speculation and conjecture. Mr. Gray was thoroughly familiar with police procedures and how to make matters difficult for arresting officers. Mr. Allen's initial statement raises valid suspicion that he was once again intentionally inflicting injury upon himself.

While Mr. Gray's family was quickly and foolishly handed $6.4 million, the officers and their families for years have been suffering from hostility, indignities, uncertainties, stress and financial hardship from the burdens of legal expenses. My thoughts and prayers are for the wrongly accused officers and their families whose lives were severely damaged and may be destroyed. If this politically motivated trial board fires the officers, how will their families handle the injustice? The officers and their families endured too much undeserved, prolonged pain. Don't perpetuate that injustice. Spare them by dropping the trial board.

Jerry Rodkey, Ellicott City

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