The police union has criticized state attorney Marilyn Mosby's swift decision to charge all six police officers over the death of Freddie Gray. It said the officers fulfilled their duty to "protect the public."
The police charged with Freddie Gray's death were doing their job, the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3 (FOP) said in an open letter to state attorney of Baltimore city Marilyn Mosby after she announced that all six officers were indicted.
The police union also requested that Mosby appoint an independent prosecutor due to potential conflicts of interest.
Mosby has been accused of having connections to the Gray family's attorney, William Murphy, while her husband is a member of the city council.
Casear Goodson, the driver of the police transport van, is the only officer charged with second-degree murder in the case
However, Mosby declined the request, saying honorable officers should not have a problem working with prosecutors.
The FOP's president also released a statement Friday night criticizing Mosby's move.
"Let me begin by stating how appalled and frustrated we are at this morning's events and the information announced by State's Attorney Mosby," said Gene Ryan, president of the Baltimore police union, late Thursday evening.
"Our officers, like every other American citizen, are entitled to due process and we will continue to support them throughout the judicial process which we believe will result in a finding of innocence."
All six police officers turned themselves on Thursday following the indictment. They were then released on bail bonds of $250,000 and $350,000.
If the officers are found guilty, they face prison sentences ranging from ten to 30 years.
Baltimore braces for more protests
Crowds gathered in Baltimore on Friday to celebrate the indictment. However, Mosby's announcement did not quell protests across the city.
Police spokesman Sgt. Jarron Jackson said that 53 people were arrested on Friday night, including 15 on curfew-related charges.
The city of Baltimore continues to enforce a city-wide curfew from 10:00pm to 5:00am by the Maryland National Guard and law enforcement agencies from across the state.
Meanwhile, the city is preparing itself for a mass rally. Malik Shabazz, president of the Black Lawyers for Justice, said that Saturday's scheduled protest march will be a "victory rally" after applauding Mosby's efforts as "setting a standard for prosecutors all over the nation."
As the Baltimore braces for the mass rally, the Maryland National Guard said that almost 3,000 troops were deployed across the city, marking an increase of 1,000 from the day before.
ls/jil (AP, Reuters, AFP)