Alicia White, one of the six officers charged in the fatal arrest of Freddie Gray, will be promoted from lieutenant to captain, according to The Baltimore Sun. After escaping charges from the Justice Department while three of her colleagues were acquitted, she continued to work, business as usual.
White is moving up to serve as captain of the Baltimore Police Department’s Performance Standards Section which is responsible for conducting audits and inspections to make sure the agency is following its policies correctly. Isn’t that something? According to AP News, White didn’t follow the protocol she was supposed to when investigating Gray’s arrest. She failed to summon a medic and assess his injuries.
Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby said White only spoke to the back of Gray’s head. At that point, he’d already been unconscious.
More on the case from AP News:
White said that when she arrived on scene, she saw Gray kneeling in the police wagon and asked him whether there was a problem. White later told investigators that Gray didn’t really respond, which she took to mean he didn’t want to cooperate. She said she didn’t see a reason to seek medical attention at the time.
Gray was not secured by a seat belt in the wagon, against department rules. When the van arrived at the Western District, officers said they found Gray not breathing in the back. White then called for a medic. Gray died from his injuries a week later.
In a 2016 interview with the Sun, after her state charges were dropped, White defended her actions.
“I still believe that, when I went to work that day, I did everything that I was trained to do,” she said. “Unfortunately, that day someone lost their life. But I feel like everything I was trained to do, I did.”
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Mosby charged six officers in the case but only three were acquitted and the other three, including White, had their charges dropped. After an independent investigation by the Justice Department, federal prosecutors declined to bring civil rights charges against them, reports say.
Situations like this reinforce the reason we push for police accountability. Sure, White might have felt she had done her job. But, the reality is that a medical assessment could have changed the direction of Gray’s fate. Now, she’ll be in charge of making sure other officers don’t make the same mistakes she did while not completely owning up to those mistakes.