Baltimore police union lawyer blames charges on 'rush to judgment'

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An attorney for one of the six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray on Friday suggested the case was politically motivated and cautioned against a "rush to judgment."

"I'm not going to get caught up into the politics. That's what's getting us, I believe, here today," said Michael Davey, who is representing one of the officers but spoke for all those charged.

"I believe that the publicity in this case is a driving force to a rush to judgment and causing this prosecution to move so quickly," he added.

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Davey said the process of bringing the charges was too swift, criticizing Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

"In my 20-year career as a law enforcement officer and 16 years as an attorney, I have never seen such a rush to file criminal charges which I believe are driven by forces separate and apart from the application of law and the facts of this case as we've heard them," Davey said.

"Let me state in no uncertain terms that Lt. Rice and all of the officers involved at all times acted reasonably and in accordance with their training as Baltimore police officers," he added. "No officer injured Mr. Gray, caused harm to Mr. Gray, and [they] are truly saddened by his death. These officers did nothing wrong."

Gray, a 25-year-old black man, suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody, and later died.

Mosby's office alleges that Gray was fatally injured when officers restrained him — using shackles and cuffs — in a police van without strapping him in with a seat belt. Six officers have been charged on a range of counts, the highest being a second-degree murder count for the driver of the van.

Davey reiterated the union's support for appointing a special prosecutor in the case.

Mosby rejected those calls on Friday morning, saying that a special prosecutor would not be accountable to voters.

Gene Ryan, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Baltimore City Lodge 3, was asked about reports that there is low morale among Baltimore police officers.

"I can tell you they're not happy," he said. "This decision to charge the officers is going to make our job even harder."

The Gray case has brought longstanding concerns about how police in Baltimore treat minority communities to national attention. On Monday some angry citizens rioted, but most of the protests over Gray's death have been peaceful.

Ben Kamisar contributed. 

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