The state's attorney, Marilyn Mosby, announced Freddie Gray's death, from a spinal injury incurred while in police custody, has been ruled a homicide. Mosby announced charges for all the officers involved. ABC News reports:
Mosby announced a series of charges now facing the six police officers involved in putting Gray in custody and transporting him in the police wagon on the morning of April 12. The charges vary for each individual, but include several counts of manslaughter, second degree assault, misconduct in office, and false imprisonment among others. The serious charge she listed was second degree depraved heart murder, which only one officer faces. A warrant has been issued for the police officer's arrest, Mosby said.
The officers deserve due process like anyone else, and ought to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, their employment status should not have to be tied into those due process rights—it's not how the Constitution works. But because of the Marlyand Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights and the Baltimore union contract, it is how employment with the police department works. Not only did the six officers have 10 days to line up legal representation and give a statement to authorities—in an interrogation process that looks very different than the one you or I would go through—they remain employed by the Baltimore Police Department despite the damage they've done to the department's already poor reputation. They will continue to draw paychecks, and cost city taxpayers money, until they are found guilty. Only then can the city begin the process of firing them. If they are found not guilty, then thanks to the privileges granted police, they could be put back on the street even if Baltimore doesn't want them there. That doesn't sound like a democracy or a republic to me.