Public figures and activists did not hold back as they reacted with anger and disappointment at a Baltimore prosecutors’ decision to drop all charges against the three remaining police officers in Freddie Gray’s homicide case, in what many argue is the very reason the Black Lives Matter movement exists and continues to gain support from a growing number of people.
“When a man's death is ruled a police homicide and nothing happens it's no wonder all faith has been lost in our justice system,” Jill Stein, the Green party’s candidate for president, tweeted.
“Zero police officers were convicted of murder in 2015 while nearly 1,000 civilians were killed by police. This is unacceptable," she added.
The decision of Attorney General Marilyn Mosby to drop the charges did not come as a surprise to many as her team had failed to secure any convictions against four other police officers.
“If 'law enforcement' isn't accountable for the easily verifiable homicide of #FreddieGray, then what's the point of 'law' or a constitution?” actor Jesse Williams, who has been active within the Black Lives Matter movement and racial issues in the U.S., questioned in a tweet.
“Law without enforcement is merely a suggestion. Suggestions do not fill cages with Black people for profit, 'law and order' does that. #FreddieGray.”
Following her decision, Mosby called for police reform and said her team failed to secure convictions because of a lack of evidence delivered by police investigators who themselves were peers of the police officers involved in killing Gray.
“Unlike with other cases, where prosecutors work closely with the police to investigate what actually occurred, what we realized very early on in this case was that police investigating police, whether their friends or merely there colleagues, was problematic,” Mosby said.
“There was a reluctance and an obvious bias that was consistently exemplified, not by the entire Baltimore Police Department, but by individuals within the Baltimore Police Department at every stage of the investigation, which became blatantly apparent in the subsequent trials.”
Others recalled how the arrest of Gray, which led to his death, was itself unlawful. “To be honest, I'm beyond words with the #FreddieGray case right now,” Shaun King, New York Daily’s journalist and Black Lives Matter activist, said on Twitter after the decision.
“The ARREST of #FreddieGray itself was unlawful. He broke no laws. None. He was arrested for LOOKING at an officer a way he didn't like.”
Meanwhile, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump celebrated the police getting off the hook over killing Gray while suggesting prosecutor Mosby should have been prosecuted. "It was disgraceful what she did and the way she did it," he told reporters in Florida, adding that she should “prosecute herself.”
Gray’s case was one of the high-profile police killings that ignited the civil rights movement Black Lives Matter, whose activists argue that Black lives in the U.S. are less valued than white lives.
Many legal experts have warned that police officers tend to get away with extrajudicial killings, especially when Black people are the victims, which to many proves that Black lives are less valued and justifies the existence of movements like Black Lives Matter.