The Freddie Gray Myth Lives On

Wes Moore is the new governor of Maryland. An ambitious, woke, left-wing Democrat, Moore is the newfound darling of the ruling elites who consider him a potential successor to Joe Biden or Kamala Harris. Neo-Marxist codewords of diversity, equity, and inclusion fill Moore’s speeches and policy statements. The politics of racial identity is always just below the surface.

As Maryland’s first black governor, with lieutenant governor Aruna Miller, a South Asian woman who immigrated from India, Moore ceaselessly proclaims the historic racial significance of his election. During his January inauguration, Moore invoked long-past images of slavery, challenging people to envision how different his and his lieutenant governor’s portraits hanging in the capitol will look compared to the white men of the past. 

To divert criticism that his woke creed demonizes white people and the police, Moore threw in a disclaimer. He promised to unite Marylanders of all races.

Well, that didn’t last long.

Whipping Up Hate

April 19 was the eighth anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray. Moore tweeted the following: “Freddie Gray’s death was a turning point, not just for those who knew him but for all of Baltimore. Honoring his memory means continuing to fight for justice and accountability so what happened to him and far too many others never happens to anyone else.”

Not to be outdone, Miller followed up with an incendiary tweet of her own: “8 years ago, Freddie Gray, a native Baltimorean, unjustly lost his life at the hands of police brutality.”

The only person at the time with enough integrity to stand up and challenge these false, hateful, and dangerous statements was President Mike Mancuso of Baltimore’s Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). The FOP represents the rank-and-file officers of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD). Mancuso’s letter to the governor exposed the falsehoods, established that every officer had been totally cleared, and chastised him for celebrating a criminal instead of police heroes. Moore brushed him off.     

The false and irresponsible statements about Gray’s death are a regurgitation of the misinformation manufactured eight years ago by Black Lives Matter Marxists and Baltimore’s pro-criminal state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby. The lies ignited the riots after Gray died and have continued to fuel hatred and mistrust of the police among residents of Baltimore’s black community.

What makes Moore’s and Miller’s statements so disturbing is that both of them know the truth, but they insist on ignoring it. First, the officers involved were cleared of all charges. Then, in 2017, the Justice Department’s investigation found no evidence to justify the prosecution of any BPD officer for violating Freddie Gray’s civil rights. In its detailed summary report, the Justice Department reviewed the incident and explained its decision. Every fact is presented, and every lie is debunked.    

Moore’s and Miller’s tweets spread and reinforced the lie that the police killed Freddie Gray. Sadly, that was easy to do because the public has only heard the false media story that the police were guilty. But the truth matters. So let us review the facts of the incident resulting in Gray’s tragic death and examine the statements of Maryland’s top leaders within the context of those facts.

What Happened on April 12, 2015

The Justice Department report documents that while patrolling an area notorious for its high volume of illegal drug sales, BPD bicycle patrol officers observed Gray, a known drug dealer and career criminal, standing on a corner. Gray made eye contact with the police and immediately fled on foot. Officers chased Gray, quickly apprehending him without incident. They handcuffed Gray, conducted a protective patdown search for weapons, and found an illegal switchblade knife in his pocket. Gray was placed under arrest.

The officers escorted Gray to a prisoner transport wagon and placed him inside to be taken to the Western District police station for processing. Gray was uncooperative. He had deliberately gone limp to impede the officers escorting him to the wagon. Now, he actively resisted and effectively prevented attempts to seat and secure him with a seatbelt. Once alone inside the vehicle, Gray started banging himself against the interior walls with such force that the wagon rocked.

After arriving at the Western District station, officers found Gray unconscious. They immediately called paramedics, who took him to a nearby hospital. Gray’s fatal injuries were a fractured neck and a pinched spinal cord. Gray remained in a coma, underwent multiple surgeries, but died from complications a week later.

Medical experts agreed that Gray’s injuries were caused by his head forcefully hitting walls or doors inside the wagon. They determined that the injuries “were akin to those sustained by a person who dives into a shallow pool and hits his head on the bottom, causing the neck to break when his head rotates forward.”

While en route to the station, the wagon stopped at another location to transport a second arrestee. This prisoner was placed in a separate compartment from Gray, divided by a steel partition. 

This second arrestee told investigators that  he heard loud banging from the other side of the wagon and believed that “Gray was knocking his head against the wagon’s middle partition.” He also reported that their trip in the wagon had been a “smooth ride”—the wagon was not driven recklessly or erratically. This further confirms expert testimony at trial that no evidence had been found to show Gray had been given a “rough ride”—deliberate erratic driving causing an unsecured prisoner in the back of a police wagon to be violently thrown about and injured.

The Same Lies, Then and Now.

Nevertheless, the “rough ride” narrative took hold, as did the story that officers brutalized and tased Gray in the back of the wagon. So Maryland’s governor and lt. governor perpetuate the lie that Gray “unjustly lost his life at the hands of police brutality.” 

The Justice Department report determined, “The evidence in this matter overwhelmingly contradicted reports from some civilian witnesses that Gray was either tased or beaten by the officers.” It states: “The doctor who performed Gray’s autopsy and testified for the state concluded that there was no medical evidence indicating that Gray’s injuries were caused by excessive force during the arrest, and no medical evidence showing that Gray had been tased” (emphasis added). 

BPD analyzed the tasers of every officer who had been on the scene and found that none had been deployed that day. One of the witnesses who originally claimed to have seen the police tase Gray, recanted that accusation during the trial. The Justice Department revealed that “. . . at least two civilian witnesses reported that they did not see any officer strike, punch, or kick Gray, and at least one such witness denied that officers placed Gray into the wagon forcefully.”

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Maryland’s governor says that the death of Freddie Gray was “a turning point . . . for all of Baltimore.” Moore is right—but not for the reasons he thinks. Incited by the lies that police had murdered Gray, rioting, arson, and looting broke out after his funeral and continued for six days. Mobs attacked police officers with bricks and bottles, burned squad cars, and then spread the destruction into Baltimore neighborhoods.

The response by city leadership to the rioters was disgraceful. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake initially ordered police to stand down. Explaining her decision to have police officers become spectators, Rawlings-Blake infamously announced that “we also gave those who wished to destroy, space to do that as well.”

That was the wrong message to criminals. Provided with “space to destroy,” mobs did exactly what you would expect—they destroyed. Out-of-control mobs looted and destroyed 200 largely black-owned businesses, burned 60 buildings, torched nearly 150 vehicles, and injured 113 police officers. Combined losses to businesses and the city totaled $30 million. Hundreds of millions more were lost in economic devastation.  

The 2015 riots were “a turning point” for Baltimore. The colossal breakdown of basic order taught Baltimore’s criminal element that the rule of law had been replaced by the rule of the mob.

Today, mobs regularly take over sections of the city with impunity. They seize Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor. Major intersections are shut down while crowds engage in illegal street racing. Illegal dirt bike riders rule the streets. Motorists have been threatened, attacked, and even murdered by so-called squeegee kids who wash car windshields without permission and then extort payment.     

A Soros-Funded Crime Wave

Since 2014, George Soros, the leftist billionaire currency manipulator, has spent more than $40 million to elect radical district attorneys in 75 major Democratic jurisdictions. Standing on the myth of “systemic racism,” their mission is to subvert the American criminal justice system from within.

Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby was the most destructive of these subversive prosecutors. Setting out to shatter the already fragile relationship of trust between Baltimore police and the black community, Mosby launched a malicious political prosecution of BPD officers following the death of Freddie Gray.

With no substantive evidence of wrongdoing, she charged six officers with felonies, including four counts of manslaughter. She charged the driver of the prisoner wagon with murder.

Mosby’s prosecution wasn’t about justice; it was about mob vengeance. In announcing the charges, she spoke directly to the mob, falsely claiming that Gray’s knife was legal and his arrest illegal. Echoing the mob chant, she proclaimed, “I heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace’ . . . You’re at the forefront of this cause. And as young people, our time is now!”

Justice was done, and accountability prevailed. But the price was high and serious damage was done. Predictably, Mosby’s prosecution was built on a pack of lies and fell apart at trial. Three trials resulted in acquittals on all counts. Judge Barry Williams expressed disbelief at the lack of evidence Mosby presented. He blasted prosecutors for withholding evidence. Humiliated by her failure, Mosby dismissed all charges against the remaining three officers.

Despite the happy ending, the personal lives of the six officers and their families were altered forever. They were subjected to terrible mental, financial, and physical stress. Let’s not forget the family of Freddie Gray, either. Marilyn Mosby lied to them, shamelessly exploited their grief, and manipulated them as media props. Mosby’s fraudulent prosecution caused long-lasting damage to the morale and reputation of the Baltimore Police Department and its relationship with many in the black community.

Even after the officers’ innocence had been proven in court, the myth that Freddie Gray had been murdered lived on. This was propagated by Black Lives Matter, the Democratic Party, the Leftist elite media, and Marilyn Mosby herself. Dishonest, woke politicians like Wes Moore and Aruna Miller ensure that the disinformation continues to spread. 

Honoring His Memory?

Like Black Lives Matter and the leftist Democratic Party elites, Wes Moore chooses to celebrate the memory of criminals. Freddie Gray’s death was tragic. It’s also a fact that Gray was a drug dealer who sold heroin to his own community and destroyed many lives. Between 2008 and 2015, more than 1,000 people in Baltimore died from heroin overdoses. We will never know how many of these victims were sold their heroin by Freddie Gray, but we do know that he doesn’t deserve monuments in his honor.

If Moore sincerely wanted to recognize real victims of crime, he should have considered the hundreds of innocent men, women, and children who were murder victims during the reign of terror and lawlessness unleashed by Marilyn Mosby: BPD Police Officer Keona Holley, who was assassinated by two career criminals as she sat parked in her squad car. Wicomico County Deputy First Class Glenn Hilliard, shot and killed chasing a convicted armed robber who never should have been on the street. Mosby had given the cop killer probation instead of prison. Shaind Miller, an eight-month-pregnant mother murdered on the street along with her 3-year-old daughter, Shaniya. Evelyn Player, a 69-year-old grandmother stabbed to death in her own church. And lastly, Timothy Reynolds, a husband and father of three, shot dead in cold blood by a squeegee thug. These are memories that we should honor. 

Speak Out Against Lies            

The Freddie Gray myth has played a critical role in subverting law and order, which, in turn, subverts society. Black Lives Matter and their allies in the media, the Biden Administration, and state and local governments pursue suicidal policies, defunding police, decimating departments, releasing repeat offenders without bail, ceding the streets to thugs, and even toying with the idea of emptying jails and prisons altogether. All in the name of “justice” and “equity.”

These are ideas that only people insulated from their consequences could entertain. They’re lying to themselves if they believe their policies won’t end in more chaos, suffering, and death. Above all, they’re lying to the public.     

These lies can’t survive exposure to the truth. We must confront them. But so far, most have been afraid to speak this truth out of fear of being labeled “racist.” This must change. The law-abiding citizens of Baltimore have shown that lies can’t last when people stand up to them. In last July’s Democratic primary, voters rejected Marilyn Mosby by a whopping 72 points. Unable to help street criminals anymore, Mosby now awaits reckoning for her own criminality. Her trial on federal fraud and perjury charges begins in November.   

We can also draw inspiration from individuals who have shown us the courage to stand up—even at considerable cost to themselves. In a recent video, Tucker Carlson reminds us that “when honest people say what’s true calmly and without embarrassment, they become powerful . . . That’s the iron law of the universe. True things prevail.” He’s right. True things prevail—but only when people have the courage to speak them.

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About Maurice Richards

Maurice Richards is the former chief of the Martinsburg Police Department in West Virginia. He served as chief from 2015 to 2020 after a 24-year career in the Chicago Police Department. Richards holds a doctorate in adult education from Northern Illinois University. His writing has been featured in Human Events, The Federalist, The Hill, and The Daily Caller

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images