The most serious charge against one of the Baltimore officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray is one many Americans likely have not heard of: depraved heart murder.
The Legal Information Institute, a research group housed at Cornell University Law School, defines the charge this way: "Killing someone in a way that demonstrates a callous disregard for the value of human life. For example, if a person intentionally fires a gun into a crowded room, and someone dies, the person could be convicted of depraved heart murder."
Officer Caesar Goodson, Jr., who drove the police van that brought Gray to a police station, is charged with second-degree depraved heart murder.
He is accused of failing to get medical help for Gray and failing to secure him with a seat belt inside the van. At one point, he drove to help with another arrest instead of providing medical help to Gray, Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said.
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"Despite Mr. Gray’s obvious and recognized need for medical assistance, Officer Goodson in a grossly negligent manner chose to respond to the 1600 block of West North Avenue with Mr. Gray still unsecured by a seat belt in the wagon without rendering to or summonsing medical assistant for Mr. Gray," Mosby said.
Five other officers — Officer William Porter, Lt. Brian Rice, Officer Edward Nero, Garrett Miller and Sgt. Alicia White — also face charges. Those range from involuntary manslaughter to misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
A lawyer for some of the officers accused Mosby of a rush to judgment.
"The officers did nothing wrong," the lawyer, Michael Davey, said Friday. "These injuries did not occur as a result of any action or inaction on the part of these officers."