Gray Family: ‘Satisfied’ With Charges, Rioting Would ‘Defeat the Purpose’

Richard Shipley, Freddie Gray’s stepfather, said that Gray’s family is “satisfied” with the charges brought against six officers in Gray’s death and that “the last thing that Freddie would want is to see the hard-working people of Baltimore lose their jobs and businesses because of his death. You all know that would totally defeat the purpose of what we are trying to work towards” in a press conference on Friday.

Shipley stated, “we are satisfied with today’s charges. These charges are an important step in getting justice for Freddie. And we ask that whoever come[s] to our city, a city that we love, a city that we live in, come in peace. And if you are not coming in peace, please don’t come at all. Because this city needs to get back to work. The last thing that Freddie would want is to see the hard-working people of Baltimore lose their jobs and businesses because of his death. You all know that would totally defeat the purpose of what we are trying to work towards. Remember, without justice there is no peace, but — let us have peace in the pursuit of justice.”

Gray Family attorney William Murphy Jr. said, “today is a momentous step on the road to justice for Freddie. In losing Freddie, the Gray family has been put through real hell. One can only imagine the tremendous pain and suffering that this family has endured. For the parents, loss of a son and the sisters, loss of a brother. Freddie was taken too early and too horrifically. And the worst of the Grays’ family days, in the history of this family, have been the last three weeks. Today has given the Gray family a measure of hope. We thank the state’s attorney and her team for their unprecedented courage and their measured and professional response to this crisis. They have our gratitude in their pursuit of justice.”

He added, “however, we must be mindful that this is a first step, not the last. … If Freddie Gray is not to die in vain, we must seize this opportunity to reform police departments throughout this country. So that there are no more days and times like this. It is now time for every city, including our own, to make all citizens of this country treated with human dignity, unaffected by color, religion, gender, income, or of the other irrelevant differences that wrongly exclude them from the human family. Let us make this the overarching meaning of justice for Freddie. … The lasting changes we make will be Freddie’s legacy. And the changes we make in Baltimore can set the example for this nation. We can start with body cameras. We can continue with tough and enforceable regulations for the on switch never to be turned to the off switch inappropriately. We shall demand better hiring, better training, better oversight, and a new culture of policing. Yes, a new culture of policing, where good policing is rewarded and bad policing is punished. Where bad policemen fear committing misconduct because good policemen no longer fear preventing it, correcting it, reporting it, or prosecuting it. The blue wall of silence, which makes policemen wrongfully conspire to conceal evil, must come down. In the days ahead, we will be inviting police experts, community leaders, rank and file officers, and others who have seriously studied what must be done, to join us in what we hope will be a new Baltimore to create and implement these reforms so that they will be a model for the nation. We must seize this moment. Only this kind of lasting progress, a truly lasting progress, a permanent lasting progress, can assure Freddie Gray’s family, and the rest of us that Freddie’s death was not in vain.”

He also said that he believes “there is not going to be a rush to justice in this case, and our state’s attorney has taken a thorough look at the facts, and she has made charges. The timetable for prosecuting anyone, whether he be police officer or citizen, is never the same.” And “we should not rush to justice. We should not assume what the result of this prosecution should be or should not be. Because we want justice, that’s all we want.”

Murphy also declared, “what we pray is that this will be a human drama, not a race drama. That it will be a quest for justice, and for nothing else. That’s what we want. That’s what this family wants.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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