“I was sickened and heartbroken by the statement of charges that we heard today, because no one in our city is above the law. Justice must apply to all of us equally.”
That’s what Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said this afternoon in response to the news that the state’s attorney for Baltimore City was bringing charges against six officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray.
Rawlings-Blake said she had also instructed Police Chief Anthony Batts to suspend all officers who are facing felony charges.
“In fact, warrants have been executed and five officers are in custody,” Rawlings-Blake said.
She continued: “We know that the vast majority of the men and the women in the Baltimore City Police Department serve our city with pride, with courage, with honor and with distinction. But to those of you, who wish to engage in brutality, misconduct, racism and corruption, let me be clear, there is no place in the Baltimore City Police Department for you.”
As she spoke, people in west Baltimore celebrated. NPR’s Pam Fessler told our Newscast unit that the neighborhood where Gray was arrested had erupted in cheers.
“People are very, very happy in this neighborhood with the state attorney’s decision to press charges against the six police officers. I think it’s going to be a long night of partying here in Baltimore,” Pam reported. “Some people, however, said this is just the first step. Obviously, they’re going to have to wait and see whether or not there is going to be any convictions.”
Here’s a bit of the scene from The Baltimore Sun‘s Julie Scharper and Kevin Rector:
Rawlings-Blake closed her statement by saying she would be relentless in “changing the culture of the police department to ensure that everyone in our city is treated equally under the law.”