Baltimore's top prosecutor announced criminal charges Friday against all six officers suspended after a black man suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody, saying "no one is above the law."
Maryland State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby declared that Freddie Gray's death was a homicide, his arrest was illegal, and his treatment in custody amounted to murder and manslaughter.
Mosby announced the charges only hours after receiving the results of the internal police investigation and the autopsy report. As she spoke, the city was bracing for huge crowds in two more waves of protests Friday and Saturday against the latest case of an African-American to die at the hands of police.
Onlookers began to cheer and then express amazement over Mosby's announcement, which few expected so quickly.
"The findings of our comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation coupled with the medical examiner's determination that Mr. Gray's death was a homicide," Mosby said, "we have probable cause to file criminal charges."
Whoops, cheers and shouts of "Justice!" erupted on the courthouse steps and in the streets of Baltimore, which has faced nearly two weeks of growing anger over Freddie Gray's death.
"Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD wagon," she said.
The stiffest charge - second-degree "depraved heart" murder - was filed against driver of the police van. The other five were charged with crimes including manslaughter, assault, false imprisonment and misconduct in office.