BALTIMORE – Prosecutors dropped the remaining charges Wednesday against three Baltimore police officers awaiting trial in the death of Freddie Gray, bringing an end to the case without a conviction.
Grey was a black man whose neck was broken while he was handcuffed and shackled but left unrestrained in the back of a police van in April 2015. His death added fuel to the growing Black Lives Matter movement and caused turmoil in Baltimore, including large protests and the worst riots the city had seen in decades.
The decision by prosecutors comes after a judge had already acquitted three of the six officers charged in the case, including the van driver who the state considered the most responsible and another officer who was the highest-ranking of the group.
A fourth officer had his case heard by a jury, who deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial.
A pretrial hearing had been scheduled Wednesday for Officer Garrett Miller, who had faced assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges, but instead Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow told the judge that prosecutors were dropping the charges against Miller and the rest of the officers.
Prosecutors and defence attorneys quickly left the courtroom without commenting, but both sides planned news conferences later Wednesday.
After Gray’s death, the U.S. Justice Department launched a patterns and practice investigation into allegations of widespread abuse and unlawful arrests by the Baltimore Police Department. The results of the probe have not been released.
Prosecutors had said Gray was illegally arrested after he ran away from a bike patrol officer and the officers failed to buckle Gray into a seat belt or call a medic when he indicated he wanted to go to a hospital.
WATCH: Chief prosecutor claims ‘obvious bias’ as State drops charges against Baltimore police
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby wasted little time in announcing charges after Gray’s death – one day after receiving the police department’s investigation while a tense city was still under curfew – and she did not shy from the spotlight. She posed for magazine photos, sat for TV interviews and even appeared onstage at a Prince concert in Gray’s honour.
Three of the officers who were charged were black and three were white.