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This chart shows why the prosecution over Freddie Gray's death is so remarkable

MD police killings

The criminal charges brought against the six Baltimore police officers involved in Freddie Gray's arrest are remarkable because police are almost never tried for killing people in Maryland.

The data in the chart above, from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, shows that police were charged in less than 2 percent of police-involved killings between 2010 and 2014. In these killings, 69 percent of the victims were black, even though they make up 29 percent of Maryland's population. About 41 percent of the victims were unarmed.

The officers involved in Gray's arrest were charged with a total of 28 criminal charges on Friday, including second-degree depraved-heart murder, manslaughter, and assault. Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said at a Friday news conference that Gray suffered from a fatal neck injury after he was placed in a police van with no seat belt and shackled by his hands and legs.

Gray's mysterious death led to weeks of demonstrations and riots as protesters demanded answers from the Baltimore Police Department, which has a troubling history of brutality. For protesters, one of the major demands was getting criminal charges. On Friday, that demand was met — in a truly rare event.

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