Issues

President Obama: The Truth Needs To Come Out About What Happened To Freddie Gray

In his first comments after six Baltimore police officers were charged in the death of Freddie Gray, President Obama said that it is vital for the truth to come out and justice to be served.

Speaking from the White House, the President said:

It is absolutely vital that the truth comes out on what happened to Freddie Gray. It is my practice not to comment on the legal processes involved. That would not be appropriate. But I can tell you that justice needs to be served. All the evidence needs to be presented. Those individuals who are charged obviously are also entitled to due process and rule of law. So I want to make sure that our legal system runs the way it should. The Justice Department and our new attorney general is in communications with Baltimore officials to make sure that any assistance we can provide on the investigation is provided. What I think the people of Baltimore want more than anything else is the truth. That’s what people around the country expect.

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To the extent that it’s appropriate, this administration will help local officials get to the bottom of exactly what happened. In the meantime, I’m gratified that we’ve seen the constructive thoughtful protests that have been taking place. Peaceful but clear calls for accountability that those have been managed over the last couple of days in a way that’s ultimately positive for Baltimore and positive for the country, and I hope that that approach to non-violent protest and community engagement continues.

The President was correct. Unlike previous situations across the country, officials in Baltimore and Maryland seem focused on finding out the truth and taking action to hold those accountable who may committed crimes. The request made by the protesters in Staten Island, Ferguson, and Baltimore has been the same. People are demanding truth and accountability. These are the most basic requests that a population can make of those who they have trusted to protect and serve them.

The fact that local and state officials didn’t go along with those who tried to hide their potential crimes shouldn’t be the exception. This should be the norm. It is a matter of basic trust, not just in the police, but in government as a whole. Having a state’s attorney that is decisive and willing to share details and information is a big step forward from the behavior that the nation has witnessed in previous cases.

No matter how some on the right will try to spin it, all the people want is the truth, justice, accountability. Anything less than the truth will represent another systemic failure.

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