Photo above, from top left: Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller, Edward M. Nero,
Alicia D. White, Brian W. Rice and William G. Porter. (Baltimore Police Department)
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Six officers indicted in Freddie Gray’s death.
That made world headlines Thursday. That alone says it’s not the 1960s. That alone says a 25-year-old black man matters. That alone means justice matters no matter where you live or what is the color of your skin.
It also says what doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter if Freddie Gray was on heroin or had smoked dope as Sean Hannity hammered away on FOX NEWS during his show on the Baltimore riots. Is it any wonder why conservatives can’t capture the black vote? They could have championed this cause. Lincoln would have done that.
It doesn’t matter if Freddie Gray has a long rap sheet.
It doesn’t matter if Freddie Gray was carrying a small knife.
It doesn’t matter that Freddie Gray lived in West Baltimore where police said drugs and crime walk hand-in-hand.
It doesn’t matter that Freddie Gray ran from police.
None of that matters.
What matters is Freddie Gray did NOT have to die from a fatal spinal injury suffered in a police wagon ride with multiple stops. What matters is the officers ignored his screams for help. What matters is the U.S. Department of Justice launched a civil rights investigation into the Baltimore City Police Department. What matters is State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby delivered as promised — to put the hammer down on police corruption and civil rights violations.
What matters is a Baltimore Grand Jury indicted six officers.
And now what matters is who will stand up among these six officers and do their sworn duty by telling the truth?
Will it be the van driver, Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who faces the most serious charge of second-degree depraved-heart murder? Or will it be Lt. Brian Rice, Sgt. Alicia White, Officer Garrett E. Miller, Officer William G. Porter, or Officer Edward M. Nero?
Who will testify against their peers?
Their fellow officers call that rolling over on each other — a cowardly act.
I call it heroism.
Who will it be? Who will be the real hero of these six officers? Who?
That will really matter.
Timothy W. Maier is the founder of Baltimore Post-Examiner LLC, which runs the Baltimore and Los Angles Post-Examiner websites. He started out writing music, fiction and poetry and then turned to news writing where he spent the past three decades at news organizations in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C. More recently he was the managing editor at the Baltimore Examiner. He now spends time with his family, dogs, and guitar.