Police officials in Baltimore report that six police officers have been suspended pending an investigation into how a man taken into police custody eight days ago suffered a fatal injury to his spine. Police reports filed in court Monday said Freddie Gray, whose spinal cord was nearly severed in his neck while in custody, had been arrested without force or incident. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said investigators are still trying to determine how Gray suffered his injury, and that he appeared to have been breathing and talking on his own when placed in a police van after being taken into custody on April 12.
Baltimore Police released videos showing the suspect being taken into custody, but do not show what happened inside a van. Rodriguez said the officers involved have been suspended, and that an autopsy showed that Gray suffered a spinal injury that led to his death. He said the autopsy showed no other body injuries. Gray family lawyer Bill Murphy said that Gray’s spine was 80 percent severed at his neck. He called the news conference by police bizarre for not providing answers. Police also released a more detailed timeline of how Gray was arrested and transported on April 12. It revealed that Gray was placed in leg irons after an officer felt he was becoming “irate,” and that the van stopped on its way to the police station, even picking up another prisoner in an unrelated case, while Gray repeatedly asked for medical attention.
Autopsy results released Monday, revealed that Gray did suffer a significant spinal injury that led to his death but questions still remain how he suffered that injury. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said that Gray asked first for an inhaler, and then several times during his transport for medical care. Batts also said it is still unclear why Gray was stopped in the first place, saying only that officers “made eye contact” with Gray and another man, and the two took off running. “That’s part of the question we have to dig into,” Batts said, “if there’s more than just running. There is no law against running.”
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she too is “angry that we are here again” after trying to overcome decades of distrust between police and citizens in Baltimore’s inner city. “Our community is experiencing a great deal of trauma,” Rawlings-Blake said. “This is a very, very tense time for Baltimore City.” Police say they called emergency medical staff to care for Gray at the police station 30 minutes after the arrest. Gray’s family lawyer, William Murphy, says it was far longer than that.
His take-down and arrest without probable cause occurred under a police video camera, which taped everything including the police dragging and throwing Freddie into a police vehicle while he screamed in pain,” Murphy said. “While in police custody, his spine was 80% severed at his neck.”
The officer in question, Garrett Miller, official request for a criminal charge against Gray, a 25-year-old black man who was only 5-foot-8 inches tall and 145 pounds, said that he had been arrested “without force or incident.” Miller sought a charge of carrying a switchblade, punishable by a year in prison and a $500 fine, according to court records obtained Monday by The Associated Press.