Renowned defense attorney Alan Dershowitz has denounced the criminal charges against a group of Baltimore policemen in the death of an African-American man, claiming that the actions of city prosecutors were motivated by short-term public safety.
The death of Freddie Gray last month, the latest in a series of killings of African-American men at the hands of the police, sparked riots in the city and set off demonstrations across the U.S.
“I understand why the mayor and state attorney want to prevent riots…but that’s not the job of the justice system…You cannot allow police officers or any other defendants to become scapegoats for crowds demanding a continuation of rioting, ” he told Newsmax TV.
“There’s no plausible, hypothetical, conceivable case for murder under the facts that we now know them. You might say that conceivably there’s a case for manslaughter. Nobody wanted this guy to die, nobody set out to kill him, and nobody intentionally murdered him, ” Dershowitz said.
The civil rights attorney claimed that there is almost no chance for the policemen to be tried fairly under the current circumstances.
“[The policemen] are presumed innocent, they need due process of law, and the mayor and the state attorney have made it virtually impossible for these defendants to get a fair trial. They have been presumed guilty”, he added.
Dershowitz also characterized the numerous charges, including second-degree murder and manslaughter, as “crowd control” that goes against the American justice system.
“It may have been the criteria in Rome, for Fidel Castro, in Iran, and in other countries, but in our country you don’t base indictments on what impact it’s going to have on the crowd, ” he said. “You base it on a hard, neutral, objective view of the evidence, and it doesn’t look like that was done here.”
The 25-year-old Gray suffered a severe spinal injury on April 12 while being arrested or being transported in a police van and died one week later.