Three of the six police officers who were accused of killing Freddie Gray in 2015 were honoured at a right-wing party last week.
Details of the black-tie dinner, hosted by the conservative Media Research Centre, may upset advocates against police violence.
The three officers – Brian Rice, Edward Nero, and Garrett Miller – were given standing ovations as they were introduced to the audience last Thursday night.
“In April of last year, six Baltimore police officers were transporting Freddie Gray to jail and he died en route,” Fox News contributor Deneen Borelli incorrectly told audience members.
Mr Gray did not die in the officers’ care – he passed away in a hospital several days later after suffering severe spinal injuries inside the police van.
“Immediately someone made the accusation that Freddie Gray had been killed by the police,” Ms Borelli added. “The accusation grew and grew – fed by the left, political agitators, and the national media – to advance the anti-police narrative. Soon there were riots in the street.”
The decision to charge the officers was greeted with celebrations. But things soon changed as three of the officers were acquitted.
In July, prosecutors dropped charges against the three remaining officers, saying they feared they would not be able to secure convictions.
Since 2005, 54 officers have been charged in wrongful death cases despite police killing more than 10,000 citizens—and few of them are found guilty.
Ms Borelli continued to praise the officers at the gala.
“These five men and one woman, all veteran police officers, were now in handcuffs, fighting for their lives, their careers destroyed, bankrupted, humiliated,” she said.
Sources within the Media Research Centre voiced discontent with honouring the police officers involved in the Mr Gray’s death. They told The Daily Beast that the organisation never informed guests that the officers would be honoured but said the law enforcement community would be celebrated at large.
All six police officers remain on administrative duty pending an internal review by the Baltimore Police Department.