The family of Freddie Gray on Friday applauded the news that Gray’s death had been ruled a homicide and that criminal charges were being brought against all the officers involved.
“We are satisfied with today's charges,” Richard Shipley, who identified himself as one of Gray’s “two fathers,” said at a press conference Friday afternoon. “These charges are an important step in getting justice for Freddie.”
In welcoming the decision, which was announced by Marilyn Mosby, the state's attorney for Baltimore City, Gray's family joins numerous protesters in Baltimore who celebrated the news on Friday.
Gray died on April 19 from a severe spinal cord injury he sustained during an arrest a week prior. Mosby's department conducted an investigation into the case and has issued warrants for the six officers responsible for Gray’s death. The slew of charges the officers face include counts of manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and second-degree assault.
Shipley went on to express gratitude for the thousands of protesters who have rallied in the days since Gray’s death, but made a plea that those who demonstrate should only do so peacefully.
“We ask whoever comes to our city, a city that we love, we live in, come in peace,” he said. “If you are not coming in peace, please don’t come at all.”
"The last thing that Freddie would want would be for the hardworking people of Baltimore to lose their jobs and businesses because of his death," Shipley added.
Billy Murphy, an attorney for Gray's family, said that the family was gratified by the news and that it has given them a great “measure of hope.”
“However, we must be mindful this is the first step and not the last,” Murphy said, cautioning that the prosecuting process has only just begun.
Murphy said he and the family will continue to work with community members and law enforcement officials to help rebuild trust between the police and the community. He hopes to implement these types of reforms in Baltimore so the city can serve as a model for the nation.
Crowds cheered on Friday following Mosby's public address, in which the prosecutor made a number of strong statements about the investigation and against the officers involved.
“I will seek justice on our behalf. This is a moment, this is your moment," Mosby told young protesters. "You're at the forefront of this cause and as young people, our time is now."