For all the kicking and screaming that the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police directed at Marilyn Mosby today after six of their brothers were indicted for their role in the death of Freddie Gray, they seem to have missed one thing. The indictment came down less than 24 hours after Mosby got the case from Baltimore police. You know what that tells me? Police commissioner Anthony Batts knew that a crime had been committed.
Batts has already said that the six officers who handled Gray broke police procedure by not responding to his requests for medical attention and not buckling him in when they put him in the police wagon. However, given how fast the indictment came, I suspect that Batts concluded that Gray's death was a criminal act, not merely a violation of procedure.
The picture I'm getting here is that Batts wanted to have all arrested then and there--only to have a judge tell him to let the state's attorney's office take a look at the case. I immediately thought about something that happened in 2013, when a Dallas cop was arrested for an unprovoked shooting of a mentally ill man. Cardan Spencer claimed he'd been forced to shoot the man when he lunged at him with a knife. However, after a video came out showing Spencer shooting the man with his arms at his sides, the police chief wanted him charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. However, the judge insisted that the case be taken to the grand jury.
Several of the commenters in the diary I wrote about it suggested that the judge didn't want the blowback from the cops with whom he had to work on a regular basis. That may have been what happened here--let Mosby and her team churn it through the system. Apparently Mosby came to the same conclusion as Batts--literally hours after getting the medical examiner's report, she rolled out the indictments.
The system worked exactly the way it was intended to work--just a lot faster than even the most optimistic among us expected.