President Donald Trump‘s Department of Justice has decided against charging the six Baltimore police officers the center of the death of Freddie Gray, Reuters reports. There was “insufficient evidence” to pursue any legal action, a DOJ spokesperson said in a statement.
A federal investigation into the death began under President Barack Obama‘s administration shortly after Gray died in April 2015. Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the DOJ investigation on the day of Gray’s funeral, when protests erupted in Baltimore. Last year, the DOJ reported findings that the Baltimore police department had violated the rights of African-American residents for years. The report cited strip searches, illegal stops and excessive force.
Jeff Sessions, the current U.S. Attorney General, was more concerned with “officer morale” than the violated civil rights of African-Americans. He has promised to roll back DOJ investigations into corruption alleged at police departments nationwide. The Trump administration even tried to delay interventions suggested by the DOJ in the last days of Obama’s presidency. Despite those efforts, the city has moved forward to address changes in training and officers’ use of force.
The DOJ called Gray’s death “incredibly tragic,” Associated Press reports. Still, it was reluctant to lay this “tragedy” at anyone’s feet. “To the extent that the officers violated department policy in failing to seatbelt Gray, those failures suggest civil negligence rather than the high standard of deliberate indifference,” the department wrote in a statement.
Five of the officers acquitted of criminal charges filed by the state were still expected to face public disciplinary hearings for their involvement in Gray’s death.