Richard Shipley, who called for “peace in the pursuit of justice” as family and community members demanded answers in the police-involved death of his stepson Freddie Gray, died earlier this month at the age of 60.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Shipley, who was also known as “Rick,” died Feb. 6. Family attorney Billy Murphy did not know the cause of death.
“He was a heck of a guy,” Murphy told the Sun.
Shipley was recognized for his unwavering calm after his stepson died as a result of injuries that he sustained while in police custody. Gray’s death sparked nationwide protests as well as riots in the city.
“Let us have peace in the pursuit of justice,” Shipley insisted on May 1, 2015, just hours after Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced the criminal charges that were being filed against the six officers involved in the case.
A funeral service celebrating Shipley’s life was held Monday evening at the Refreshing Springs Baptist Church.
Shipley advocated for justice for Gray and was the one to first inform the Sun, as well as other outlets, that the 25-year-old was in a coma after suffering serious spinal cord injuries almost three years ago.
When the riots in Baltimore started, Shipley pleaded for calm.
“Whoever comes to our city—a city that we love, a city that we live in—come in peace. If you are not coming in peace, please don’t come at all,” he said. “Because this city needs to get back to work. The last thing that Freddie would want is to see the hardworking people of Baltimore lose their jobs and businesses because of this.”
In the end, the case against the officers fell short. The first trial of an officer charged in Gray’s death ended in a hung jury. Three other officers ended up being acquitted before Mosby ended up dropping all charges against the remaining three.
Despite the lack of convictions, Shipley said that family members “stand behind Marilyn and her prosecuting team.” Murphy was also able to secure a $6.4 million settlement for the family from the city.
“I really do think it had a tremendous impact,” Murphy said of Shipley’s comments calling for calm after the mistrial of one of the cops. “And I think he’s really going to be remembered.”