A Navy SEAL will be arraigned in San Diego on Friday after being charged with alleged violations of military law during his deployment to the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2017.
Among the charges faced by Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher are stabbing and murdering a wounded person, shooting at noncombatants, posing for a photo and performing his re-enlistment ceremony next to a dead body, according to charge sheet from November.
Walking into court at the Naval Base San Diego on Friday, Gallagher’s wife Andrea told CNN, “This is a travesty of justice and it needs to be righted.”
A group of Gallagher’s supporters gathered outside the courthouse of the San Diego Naval Base on Friday. Many of them wear shirts that read, “Free Eddie,” with an American flag on the sleeve.
“We want to drive home our belief in Eddie’s overall innocence and the fact that he’s being persecuted as a good man,” said Aaron Kahn, who told CNN he’s a friend of Gallagher’s and visits him every Sunday at a military prison. Gallagher is detained at the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego.
“Eddie’s being demonized and not characterized as a good human being,” Kahn said, “and his 19 1/2 years of service has been … dismissed and not appreciated by the American public and government.”
Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, public affairs officer with the Naval Special Warfare Command, previously said the Navy was taking the allegations seriously.
“We train and operate in dynamic, complex and ambiguous environments and our operators are empowered and trusted to independently make difficult decisions during missions,” Lawrence said in a statement.
“They have consistently proven that their empowerment and trust is warranted. Allegations that indicate otherwise are, and will continue to be, investigated by the appropriate military and law enforcement authorities.”
The charge sheet said that Gallagher “did … with premeditation, murder a wounded male person” under his care by “stabbing him in the neck and body with a knife” while battling ISIS in Mosul in May 2017.
He is charged with shooting at a male and female noncombatant near Mosul in June and July of 2017, respectively.
Gallagher is also charged with obstruction of justice for “attempting to discourage members of his platoon from reporting his actions while in Iraq” when he and his unit were back in San Diego.
The Navy has charged Gallagher with “wrongfully” posing for an unofficial picture “with a human casualty” and wrongfully completing his reenlistment ceremony next to a human casualty.
He was also charged with flying a drone over a human casualty and wrongfully possessing and using the painkiller tramadol hydrochloride, a controlled substance, while in Iraq and back in San Diego.