A judge ruled today that statements made by Baltimore Police Sgt. Alicia D. White, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the April death of Freddie Gray, will be admissible for use in her trial. White’s attorney had petitioned that the statements be suppressed, claiming without intentional irony that White’s rights were violated during an interrogation by the Baltimore Police Department.
The civil rights of every person matter, and White’s status as defendant in a high-profile trial should not diminish hers. (She is accused of failing to seek medical attention for Gray after being advised that he needed it.) If she was truly interrogated improperly, her statements should not be presented to jurors. Judge Barry Williams evidently believed her interrogation was fair.
All of the above aside, reading White’s claims, it’s hard not to feel like she got a dose of the street justice that Baltimoreans complaining about receiving from cops like her all the time. From the Baltimore Sun:
Ivan Bates, one of White’s attorney’s, suggested that investigators on the Baltimore Police Department’s Force Investigation Team had “tricked” White into providing a statement by making her think she was just a witness — not a suspect — and by suggesting to her during her interrogation that her signing two sheets waiving her Miranda rights and her rights under the state Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights was not tantamount to giving up her rights when it was.
Prosecutors said the statements were obtained properly. Deputy State’s Attorney Jan Bledsoe at one point during the hearing called the defense suggestion that a police sergeant did not understand her rights when agreeing to give a statement “a serious problem.”
Judge Williams ruled that their was no evidence that White was “coerced, compelled or threatened” into giving her statement, the Sun reports. Whatever she said, prosecutors will be allowed to use it against her.