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All the cops responsible for Freddie Gray’s death have now escaped legal consequences

This morning, prosecutors dropped all charges against the last three police officers due to be tried for their involvement in the killing of Freddie Gray, the young man who died of a snapped spine last year following an encounter with Baltimore police.

With that decision, we reach the end of the line in criminal proceedings pertaining to Gray’s death. Of the three officers who did go to trial, two were acquitted and one was released after his prosecution resulted in a hung jury and a mistrial.

Now, today’s announcement means no one will be held responsible for breaking Gray’s back and ending his life at just 25 years old.

This is wrong. It is evil. No one should be exempted from the consequences of ending a life—even accidentally—because they wear a badge. We need not even be convinced Gray was murdered or that the officers had malicious intent to say that an injustice has been done.

Because, as I argued back when that first mistrial happened, the six cops who until today were under prosecution are unquestionably responsible for Gray’s death.

RELATED: One year after Freddie Gray’s death, how much has changed?

You see, in our legal system, if you unintentionally kill someone, you are criminally liable. It’s called manslaughter. It’s not murder, but it’s still a crime, because there’s still a victim.

Freddie Gray should have received medical attention at the arrest site, should have only ridden about five minutes in the police van instead of 40+, should have been restrained by appropriate seat belts or other safety measures, should have—well, you get the idea.

I don’t know and can’t know whether those six officers intended to kill Gray, but it seems indisputable that they are responsible for his death in custody.

Gray didn’t confront himself. He didn’t arrest himself. He didn’t drag himself to that van or give himself a rough ride or fail to offer himself prompt medical treatment when there was something visibly wrong with his legs.

We don’t have to say these cops are monsters to concede the simple fact that they did all those things, and those things left Freddie Gray dead.

RELATED: Officers charged over Freddie Gray don’t think they can get a fair trial in Baltimore

In fact, in April of this year, both Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts and Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis admitted those six cops were medically negligent toward Gray. “No excuses for that, period,” Batts said. “We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.” With a concession like that, the conclusion that any regular citizen who accosted and abused Gray the way these officers did would at least found responsible for manslaughter, probably involving criminal negligence.

In other words, any of us would be convicted for this behavior. That these six have been let off without consequences is an indictment of the double standard with which the state excuses its own malfeasance.

And remember, all this started because Gray had a pocketknife—not because he was hurting anyone with it, just that he owned it. As Michael Graham wrote at The Federalist shortly after news of the killing first broke, “Freddie Gray was an American citizen who started his day having not committed a crime, and ended the day with fatal injuries sustained while in custody of the government.”

Those six officers are responsible for what happened to Gray. And what has happened to them is not justice.

This post is from RareRare. Click here to read the full text

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