Andre Davis, Baltimore Police Department, Caesar Goodson, Capt. Charles Thompson, Capt. Willie Parker-Loan, Freddie Gray, Lt Brian Rice, Lt. Bryant Moore, Lt. Robert Quick, Major Melvin Powell, Marilyn Mosby, Michael Davey, Sgt. Alicia White
Lt. Brian Rice, cleared of all criminal charges on July 18, 2016, has again been cleared, this time of a ridiculous number of departmental charges, but before discussing that process, let us, gentle readers, review the state of policing–and community safety–in Baltimore, circa November, 2017:
A report by the city’s police union reveals that there are nearly 200 fewer officers today than at this time one year ago, and the lower number of officers poses a safety hazard, CBS Baltimore reports.
‘You get in a crisis mode like we’re in right now with crime out of control and not enough uniformed officers on the street,” president of the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lt. Gene Ryan told CBS. “I would say it’s at a crisis point.
The numbers aren’t improving. As I’ve reported before, every officer that can possibly leave has left, or is in the process. What remains are those that know they can’t get jobs elsewhere, those with family or other ties to the community, those perfectly comfortable with doing little or nothing–hey, it pays the same–and those so close to retirement, they’ve decided to wait it out, doing as little as possible.
Baltimore ended 2016 with the second-highest number of murders per capita in its history, reports say. Meanwhile, the number of officers dropped another 6.1 percent in 2016. Since 2014, the force has seen hundreds of officers leave the job. At the end of 2014, the city had a 2,805-officer force, but there were only 2,634 officers at the end of 2015. By the closing days of 2016, that number had fallen to 2,445 officers, according to Yahoo News.
As is always the case in cities under Democrat rule, the police are handcuffed by political correctness, and the very people about which Democrat politicians claim to care so much, the black, urban poor, are victimized by their fellows as the police reasonably fear irrational, abusive discipline, even prosecution, for doing their jobs. The Baltimore Sun reports on Rice’s most recent acquittal:
When the verdict of ‘not guilty’ came, Baltimore Police Lt. Brian Rice shook hands with his attorney, hugged his parents and drove a mile to police headquarters to get his job back. [skip]
“He simply wants to go home, hug his kids, kiss his wife, have a good holiday and really, honestly, try to get on with his life,’ said his attorney, Michael Davey.
Freddie Gray was arrested on April 12, 205; he died a week later. Rice, and the other officers persecuted by Baltimore Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, with the full support of the Democrat establishment, have been in legal, career limbo since. At the end of Update 51: Goodson Acquitted–Again, I wrote:
It may be useful to review the Freddie Gray case archive to see just how little Rice and White had to do with Gray. The Democrat/social justice establishment of Baltimore, which includes the highest ranks of the Police Department, will do its best to get a pound of flesh, but evidence of Rice and White’s wrongdoing will be as elusive as was Goodson’s. The evidence and circumstances are the same, but the connection to Gray, miniscule. It is, however, a certainty, that this Javert-like quest will continue to damage the city and people social justice idiots so claim to champion.
The lack of evidence was more than evident in Rice’s departmental trial:
These cases aren’t changing,’ Davey [Rice’s lawyer] said. ‘The evidence was the same in Officer Goodson’s case. It’s the same in Lieutenant Rice’s case. It’s going to be the same in Sergeant White’s case.”
Davey urged city officials to think twice about their case against White. ‘I would hope they take a look at what they have and reconsider moving forward,’ he said.
That is, of course, impossible in a place like Baltimore, where the rule of law is ignored, replaced by social justice and the logic of the eternally aggrieved:
Baltimore Solicitor Andre Davis said the city will not drop its case against White.
‘We have to see the process through,’ he said. ‘It may appear to be unwarranted or ill-advised, but we believe that the process is important. People need to see that the Police Department really is committed to the process.
It appears that way because the persecutions of officers have been entirely politically motivated from the start. There was never probable cause to arrest the officers, and lacking that, proof beyond a reasonable doubt was impossible, as Mosby and her unprofessional minions repeatedly proved by non-stop beating of their heads against the wall of the rule of law. The first two departmental trials, where the standard of proof was a very low preponderance of evidence, demonstrated how utterly unethical and foolish the entire process has been. The damage done to the police department, and the community, in the name of racial purity and social justice, is self-evident.
The Baltimore Police Department turned to the Montgomery County Police Department to independently investigate the actions of those who arrested Gray. The investigation led to the administrative charges.
Davey, the defense attorney, argued that the investigation was superficial, saying only nine witnesses were interviewed in nine months. During trial, he sharply questioned Montgomery County Police Capt. Willie Parker-Loan, who conceded to facts that undermined his own conclusions.
A report published by The Baltimore Sun during Rice’s disciplinary hearing helps to explain why Rice was vindicated:
The administrative trial of Baltimore Police Lt. Brian Rice in the arrest of Freddie Gray appeared to falter Tuesday, as Rice’s attorney and trial board members sharply questioned the Montgomery County internal affairs chief upon whose findings the charges were based.
At times during his testimony, Capt. Willie Parker-Loan struggled to convey his rationale for findings that led to some of the charges against Rice. In some instances, he conceded to facts that undercut other findings.
Keep in mind The Baltimore Sun is very much a progressive newspaper. If they’re admitting this much against the interests of the City, the actual, complete testimony must have been truly horrific. The evidence indicates the City’s investigation was slipshod at best. Was this because they were so arrogant they didn’t think they needed a competent investigation–that would certainly comport with everything they’ve done to this point–or were the police trying to do a poor investigation to exonerate Rice? That’s always possible, but considering the investigation was ordered and supervised by the highest levels of the BPD, people entirely in lockstep with their Democrat, social justice masters, that’s unlikely, and there appears to be no evidence to support it.
The case against Rice appeared to deflate at the conclusion of the day, with the three law enforcement officials presiding over the trial barely concealing their skepticism over the charges against Rice.
‘He sustained them [the charges against Rice]. We just want to know why,’ Prince George’s County Maj. Melvin Powell, the panel’s chair, said at one point during Parker-Loan’s cross-examination by the defense. ‘If he can’t answer the question, we can move on.
In other words, the panel could find no reason why Rice was hit with a plethora of charges. The City wasn’t providing any evidence to support them–any of them. This was almost certainly a severe blow to the city’s credibility:
Parker-Loan acknowledged that the county investigation determined that Rice was completely unaware of a then-new Baltimore police policy requiring the seat-belting of detainees. He then agreed with Davey that, even under that policy, Rice had discretion as the shift commander in the Western District that day not to secure Gray in a seat belt.
Then why was Rice charged with violating this policy, and for failing to prevent officers under his supervision from violating it? No competent police supervisor would have charged an officer for using proper professional discretion under the rule and law. Parker-Loan looked even worse, if such were possible:
When it came to the charge that Rice did not ‘take corrective action’ after Goodson’s failure to take Gray to Central Booking, as Rice had initially ordered, Davey noted that Goodson had actually followed a subsequent order from Rice that he return the wagon to North Avenue to pick up another arrestee. Afterward, Parker-Loan appeared unable to answer Davey’s questions about the charge, or reconcile the charge with the facts.
This illustrates the eternal chasm between working police officers and police administrators. Officers are very aware of the rules, and the absolutely necessity to use their discretion, based on present facts, to do their jobs. Administrators, far removed from the realities of police work, and dependent on politicians for their continued employment, have other concerns. Relations between working Baltimore cops and their administrators are very bad indeed.
Powell, the panel chair, questioned the thoroughness of the Montgomery County investigation. Baltimore Police Capt. Charles Thompson, another panel member, suggested that some of Parker-Loan’s testimony was ‘contradictory.’
And after Parker-Loan testified that the county investigation had ‘focused’ only on the six officers who had previously been charged criminally in the case, the other trial board member, Baltimore Police Lt. Bryant Moore, questioned whether he had a ‘full picture’ of the events.
The point was Parker-Loan and his investigators couldn’t be bothered to do a complete, competent investigation, apparently relying on the evidence–actually, the lack thereof–that so badly failed in the criminal trials. They didn’t bother to interview the many witnesses that would have convinced any competent investigator there was no evidence to support charges. They didn’t bother because they knew there had to be charges–their political masters mandated them–and the evidence be damned. Local station WBAL TV also noted:
Also, the Police Department discovered on that very same day [from testimony during the Rice hearing] that its own system was inherently flawed. There were problems with policy, practices and equipment so glaring that department brass ordered changes the next day, according to defense witness Lt. Robert Quick, who said the blame lies with the van.
‘In my opinion, sir, the wagon itself is the problem. If we transported in cars instead of wagons, we wouldn’t even be here,’ Quick said. ‘I don’t think the seat belts prevent anything.”
Seat belts, and department policy concerning their use, are at the heart of the disciplinary hearing. Police Department attorneys argue that a new seat belt policy — No. 1114 — was announced three days before Gray’s arrest, and so, as shift commander, Rice was ultimately responsible for Gray being buckled in.
But Quick, who is in charge of writing BPD policy, said the Police Department dropped the ball by rolling out its new seat belt policy in a vacuum. Instead of putting a printed copy in each officer’s hands, as required, policy 1114 was emailed in a document dump along with five others, some 80 pages of PDF files.
As I earlier noted, testimony during the criminal trials established the BPD’s computer systems at the precinct level, the conduit through which officers would have received any e-mail, were antiquated and unreliable, a situation that has not been reported to have improved.
The email wasn’t flagged and wasn’t easy to access. At the time, Quick said, BPD members didn’t have laptops, didn’t always have access to desktop computers and were using cellphones that either couldn’t open the files or made them impossible to read.
“Shortly after this incident, we quickly realized this is a system we have to fix,’ Quick said.
Realization is nice. Actually fixing such things is, unfortunately, a much more expensive and time-consuming matter.
I suspect Lt. Rice will, for the remainder of his career, keep his head down, do as little as possible, and the minute he can claim retirement, take the money and run. What rational person would do otherwise?
The only remaining persecution is that of Sgt. Alicia White, a black woman, according to news reports, much respected, even loved, in the community. Her trial is set to begin Dec. 5. As I’ve previously noted, her role in the Gray arrest was almost nonexistent. Consider this from Update 36.6: Brian Rice Not Guilty On All Counts:
The only different ‘novel legal theory’ applied in this case was the idea that Lt. Rice, due to his rank, somehow had greater responsibility. His very rank made him more culpable, hence more convictable. As I’ve said repeatedly, in the Freddie Gray case, ‘novel legal theory,’ translates as–and please, gentle readers, forgive the colorful language; it scarcely describes the lack of competence and ethics of the prosecutors–‘an incredibly stupid idea pulled out of their asses at the last second.’ The logical extension of this theory requires that every officer in the chain of command of a higher rank than police officer should have been prosecuted. After all, doesn’t the Chief of Police bear the ultimate responsibility for the actions of his officers?
In this context, “novel legal theory” also means the prosecution, as well as the Police Department, are making up theories that have no basis in fact or law. They’re saying the officers are guilty just because. The officers are guilty because Freddie Gray! The officers are guilty because social justice! I expect them to blame Donald Trump at any moment.
This theory, as all of the other prosecution theories, is abject nonsense, idiocy of the first order. They would have been laughed out of any competent law school mock trial. Judge Williams recognized this and correctly applied the law, which leaves us with Sgt. Alicia White.
Sgt. White’s involvement in this case began when some of the people present at Gray’s arrest, complained that he was inappropriately treated. Sgt. White briefly observed Gray at the 5th stop of the transport van, the stop when Donta Allen was picked up. Seeing no medical distress, she did not so much as touch Gray, and the van continued to the booking facility where for the first time, it was obvious Gray was in medical distress, and medical help was immediately summoned. Sgt. White was there, and helped remove Gray from the van.
Pay close attention, gentle readers:
To recap: Sgt. White had no hand in Gray’s arrest. She wasn’t there. She briefly assessed him at the 5th stop, but again, didn’t so much as touch him, and had no reason to think he needed medical help. When it was obvious he needed help at the final stop, she and the other officers did all they could to help him.
If the ‘higher rank/more responsibility’ theory failed with Lt. Rice, how is it going to work with Sgt. White, who arguably had even less contact with Gray, who did less, than Rice?
All White did was observe Gray, from behind, as he lay on the floor of the van. He was, at that point, moving somewhat, and she, and the other officers, had no reason to believe he needed medical attention. She, and the other officers, had seen people behave that way hundreds of times before. She was not directly responsible for supervising the officers. How this could possibly translate into responsibility for Gray’s death is beyond professional reckoning. As the criminal trials proved, Gray wasn’t injured until sometime between the 5th and final, 6th stops. There was never anything for White to see, or do, until the 6th stop, and when she saw it, she, and the others, immediately, appropriately, responded.
If the rule of law holds in Baltimore–something that can never be taken for granted–Sgt. White will also be acquitted of all charges. But even so, all of these officers will, for the rest of their lives, have targets on their backs. They will always be a part of the urban myth of the holy social justice martyr, Freddie Gray, who would be alive and awaiting his Nobel Peace prize, if only a seat belt, which he could have released at will, had been used.
The SMM Freddie Gray case archive may be accessed here.