Civil rights leader, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said Baltimore's top prosecutor Marilyn J. Mosby deserves "congratulations for her diligent work" and "sense of urgency" in bringing charges in the death of Freddie Gray, but he said immediate reforms are necessary.
Jackson praised Mosby, saying her actions should serve as the "standard that must be broadly applied continuously" to in-custody deaths. Still, he said Friday's announcement is only the beginning of a "long and lengthy process" that is likely to include appeals.
Freddie Gray's death should spur actions to equip police with body cameras and officers should be subject to residency standards so they becomes members of the same community they serve, Jackson said.
"The charges are a significant step in the right direction, but the process isn't over," Jackson said. The country "cannot heal with one set of charges."
Jackson continued to call for President Barack Obama's Cabinet leaders to meet in Baltimore for a summit to discuss an urban renewal plan to work toward addressing the systemic problems facing cities like Baltimore. Chief among those challenges is poverty, Jackson said.
After a half-dozen armored National Guard trucks rolled down a West Baltimore street, Gov. Larry Hogan told reporters he had faith justice would be delivered.
"With respect to the indictment, we believe in the criminal justice system. The process is going to play itself out. I don't have much role in that process, but we're focused on keeping the city safe," Hogan said without elaborating on the charges themselves.
"We understand that emotions are still high, that there's a lot of frustration out there," Hogan said. "I've been incredibly impressed with the people of Baltimore. They care about their community, they're concerned about their neighbors. I want to continue to ask for calm and peace."
The new Republican governor, who just hit 100 days in office, said he remains focused on "one specific mission" to keep Baltimore calm.
"We've still got some very big protests and demonstrations going on here tonight and tomorrow," he said. "We want to make sure that people have the right to express their frustrations and their feelings in a safe manner. We want the protestors to be safe, we want the neighbors to be safe."
The systemic problems of police brutality and poverty that has fueled unrest over Freddie Gray's death would have to wait.
"Later, we'll address some of the long-terms issues and concerns people have," Hogan said.
The governor declined to identify which specific threats led him to believe that the situation in the city is volatile, but said, "we're going to make sure that we have enough presence on the ground to take care of any eventualities. My hope is that we're going to continue to have peaceful protests, but we know that a lot of people are going to be out tonight and a lot more people in town tomorrow. That's going to require us to stay vigilant."
He said the investigation "seemed to go pretty quickly, but again, I have no knowledge of the investigation whatsoever."
State Sen. Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore:
“I’m proud of our state’s attorney for letting the facts decide where things should go. She did an incredibly impressive job explaining how she came to the conclusion,” he said. “It was a very well-done investigation, a very well-done process.”
“I believe justice prevailed today.”
“We have to focus on the next phase of the problem, which is economic justice and eliminating poverty in Baltimore.”
Donnell Ray, 19, of Sandtown-Winchester (also with video), who is affiliated with the Black Nationalist Movement.
“It still wasn’t right – not no manslaughter, that’s a phony charge,” he said. “It should have been first-degree murder because they let him suffer. They beat him to death.”
He said he and other young people will go ahead with their planned noon march tomorrow from the Gilmor Homes to City Hall. -- Michael Dresser