“The pocket knife found on him was closed and legal, she said…..’no crime had been committed’”

As surmised earlier, Maryland knife law has emerged as an issue in the Freddie Gray story; Gray’s death in police custody has now resulted in the filing of charges against six police officers, the most serious charge, “depraved heart murder,” being leveled against the driver of the police van from which Gray, unbelted, emerged with fatal injuries. [Washington Post] More links on “rough rides” here, here, and here. “The Baltimore police union defended the officers involved…. ‘none….are responsible'” [Baltimore Sun, The Hill, Ed Krayewski/Reason] Some obstacles for the prosecution [Associated Press]

Update, Colin Campbell, Baltimore Sun:

The separate investigations by police and prosecutors have some conflicting findings.

While Mosby said Friday that the officers had made an illegal arrest because a knife Gray was carrying was not a “switchblade,” a violation of state law, the police task force studied the knife and determined it was “spring-assisted,” which does violate a Baltimore code.

More from Twitchy link roundup (investigators have not yet released picture of knife or other information that could help identify model and resolve dispute), Andrew Branca (Baltimore code bans “spring-assisted” weapons not banned under Maryland law; also, reasonable mistake of law on illegality of weapon might still support probable cause finding).


  • Of course the Baltimore police union is defending the officers involved in Gray’s death. The primary purpose of police unions is to defend bad cops.

  • The subject case is not the only one – Zimmerman being another – that got Alan Dershowitzto to speak out against outrageous overcharging. Not belting a passenger in a van would be a dubious means to murder; thus the murder charge is wrong. Mr. Gray was retarded or near retarded. His inexplicable behavior would be unforeseeable; thus the negligent homicide charge is wrong. Thank goodness there is at least a union to protect the Baltimore officers from the mob.

    The stack of arrests of Mr. Gray suggests that Mr. Gray should have been institutionalized for mental defect. The State of New York provided excellent care to my friend’s retarded daughter. My friend feared the daughter when the daughter’s age, size, and unpredictability put my friend at risk, especially in a car. The daughter was not violent prone, at all. She,, being retarded, didn’t have common sense. .

  • […] Jon Campbell, Village Voice. Update: And see later Overlawyered post (conflicting positions on legal status of knife carried by […]

  • “The stack of arrests of Mr. Gray suggests that Mr. Gray should have been institutionalized for mental defect.”

    They were drug dealing offenses right? I’m not sure that a drug dealing getting frequently charged with crimes means he should be institutionalized.