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All six police officers officially charged in Freddie Gray's death, says state attorney

Charges include second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault, Maryland state attorney Marilyn Mosby said Friday. The announcement comes on the heels of a $20 million body-camera program to advance "public safety."

Freddy Gray's death is to be treated as homicide, the state's attorney for Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby, said at a press conference on Friday.

All six police officers involved in Freddy Gray's death face criminal charges, including second-degree murder, manslaughter, assault and misconduct, Mosby added.

The announcement comes on the heels of media reports suggesting

Freddy Gray's death

was the result of a "head injury" sustained in a police van while being transported to a station instead of during his arrest.

Citing "multiple law enforcement" sources, a medical examiner found that Gray's spinal injury was the result of being slammed into the back of the police transport van, reported WJLA, an affiliate of American news outlet ABC.

The 25-year-old black man died April 12 while in police custody,

sparking mass protests in Baltimore and other cities across the US

.

USA Proteste gegen Polizeigewalt

Protesters in New York, Boston and other US cities decried Freddie Gray's death in police custody

To advance 'public safety'

Meanwhile, the US Justice Department announced on Friday the launch of a $20-million (17.8 million euros) pilot program to equip local law enforcement agencies across the country with body cameras.

The program is part of President Barack Obama's three-year proposal to outfit officers with body cameras after several high-profile killings of

young black men by white police

, including the

death of Michael Brown, which sparked mass protests in Ferguson

, a suburb of St. Louis, and other cities across the country.

USA Proteste gegen Polizeigewalt

Body cameras on police are a key demand of protesters and activists following the killing of Michael Brown in 2014

"Body-worn cameras hold tremendous promise for enhancing transparency, promoting accountability, and advancing public safety for law enforcement officers and the communities they serve," the newly appointed attorney general, Loretta Lynch, said in a statement.

The first phase of the program aims to divvy the $20 million in competitive grants, including $17 million for the purchase of body cameras, $2 million for training and technical assistance, and $1 million for the development tools, to local law enforcement agencies, the Justice Department said.

"This body-worn camera pilot program is a vital part of the Justice Department's comprehensive efforts to equip law enforcement agencies throughout the country with the tools, support and training they need to tackle the 21st century challenges we face," Lynch added.

ls/jil (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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