Aides to Gov. Larry Hogan said the National Guard can be put on alert and begin preparations without Hogan declaring a state of emergency, but they can not be deployed until he does so.
The guard was similarly put on call a year ago in advance of what became rioting and looting on the day of Freddie Gray’s funeral. -- Erin Cox
Rev. Cortly "C.D." Witherspoon called the verdict "devastating."
"Quite frankly, it's heartbreaking," he said outside the courthouse. "I actually am fighting back tears today."
He said many in the community believed that "if there was going to be a conviction, were were expecting it to be with this particular case."
The acquittal sends "a tremendous message" that "black lives really don't matter," he said.
"Working class people, poor people, people of color in particular, it's sending a message that their lives don't matter," he said. -- Alison Knezevich
Baltimore Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who was a prominent figure on the streets during last year's unrest, suggested that residents should channel their frustration into trying to make the city and its police department better.
"I know that many of our neighbors will be disappointed and frustrated by today’s verdict, and I understand those emotions," Cummings said in a statement. "Baltimore’s future does not rest on the outcomes of the trials surrounding Mr. Freddie Gray’s death. Baltimore’s future rests on every one of us.” -- John Fritze
Republican Sen. Sen. Michael Hough, a Frederick County lawmaker whose committee worked on policing reforms demanded in the wake of Gray’s death, said prosecutors put Baltimore residents at risk by pursing the outstanding cases against officers.
“At this point, they should just drop the charges and move on. there's no point in continuing this on. it's hurting police morale. We need to let the wound heal,” Hough said. ““I felt from the day those charges were brought they were politically motivated.”
Hough said that many reforms passed by lawmakers this year were “common sense” and valuable, but that the criminal cases against the police were without merit and pressing them complicated efforts to combat criminal violence in Baltimore because police felt persecuted for doing their jobs.
“It's time to drop it because crime is such a problem in Baltimore. I've seen this in a few urban areas, where police are afraid to get out of their cars and police the neighborhood,” Hough said. “Clearly, they (prosecutors) don't have a case. They need to just drop it so that police aren't afraid to get out there and keep communities safe.”
-- Erin Cox
After prosecutors suffered a crushing defeat Thursday in the trial of Baltimore Police Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., legal analysts say, their chances of securing a conviction against any of the police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray look increasingly dim.
Baltimore Sen. Joan Carter Conway, a Democrat, said the Freddie Gray case exposed a pattern at the Baltimore Police Department and the $6.4 million settlement in the civil suit showed “it’s obvious that something occurred.”
She said that while prosecutors may not have met the higher burden of proof in the criminal case, the city’s willingness to pay out millions in a civil case suggests the officers were responsible for Gray’s death. Regardless of the outcome of the criminal charges, “it blew out across the country and exposed the aggressive abuses of police officers.”
Several political and legal observers have suggested State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby should reconsider going to trial with the other officers charged in the case after Judge Barry G. Williams acquitted the officer charged with the most serious offenses, but Conway defended Mosby’s decision to swiftly file charges among the unrest last year.
"Just based on the occurrence of the death, the number of cases of police brutality Baltimore City alone has had, and based on the current climate in terms the evidence that was originally collected,” Conway said, “in light of all the rebellion and the fires and the destruction in the city, the prosecutor made the right decision to charge. “
Conway said that it was hard to prove who was directly responsible for Gray’s death because so many officers were involved in his arrest and transport. The case, she said, has already brought about cameras in the back of police vans, police discipline reforms and renewed focus on transporting prisoners.
“That's our judicial system. ... many of us might be disappointed that no one was convicted, but you have to have the evidence,” Conway said. She had this message for her frustrated constituents: “Justice is what they asked for. They (the officers) were tried.” -- Erin Cox