The question is, how does a healthy suspect sustain a severe and ultimately fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody, and nobody knows how it happened? If the police account that Freddie Gray’s arrest was made “without force or incident” is true, how did his spinal cord get damaged?
The Baltimore Sun on Monday reported that investigators within the city police as well as other are still trying to recreate the events of those 45 minutes when Gray sustained his fatal injuries. However, in its own investigation, The Sun discovered that police missed the opportunity to examine evidence that might have shed light on events. They found that by the time police canvassed one neighborhood looking for videos from security cameras, a convenience store camera pointed at a key intersection had already taped over its recordings of that morning. They also found that accounts from residents conflicted with the official version of events.
Citing the open investigation, the police have declined to provide dispatch recordings that would contain any conversations between officers and dispatchers while Gray was in custody. According to The Sun, another van pickup was made before its arrival at the Western District police station. However, the timeline for when and where the van stopped remains incomplete. Police have said that a preliminary report on Gray’s autopsy showed he had no injuries except to his spinal cord. No evidence of kicks, punches or other beatings. No evidence of broken limbs.
Contrary to the police report, Kevin Moore, a 28-year-old friend of Gray’s from Gilmor Homes, stated that one officer had his knee on Gray’s neck, Moore said, and another was bending his legs backward. “They had him folded up like he was a crab or a piece of origami,” Moore said. “He was all bent up.”
When Gray was taken out of the van, Deputy Commissioner Rodriguez said, “he could not talk and he could not breathe.” It should be noted that beyond damage to his spinal cord, Gray had a crushed voice box.
USA Today Sunday commented that protests had turned violent, with protestors breaking windows and throwing items at police. The protest came a day after police admitted Gray did not receive medical attention early enough after being taken into custody and that Gray was not buckled into a seat when he was transported in a police van after he was arrested April 12. Gray asked for medical help several times, beginning before he was placed in the van. After a 30-minute ride that included three stops, paramedics were finally called.
One must ask, shouldn’t the medical examiner be able to tell how his spinal cord was injured? Did he fall? Was he struck? It is impossible to believe that no one knows how Gray was injured. The Al Sharpton’s and Jesse Jackson’s aren’t needed, but those who are supposed to represent the people are and should hold police departments accountable. Yes, police have a difficult job, but they have the power of life and death and that demands rigorous scrutiny to head off abuse. Or is it just not considered abuse when the victim is black?
Contrary to popular opinion, it is not only black lives that matter, but all lives. Many-not all-police are being abusive to people in general. What about the Texas cop who slammed the white, intoxicated mom to the ground in front of her 6-year-old child, knocking her out? Police abuse is too often covered up. When are they going to learn? The eyes of the country are on police right now. The one thing we all need to learn from these deaths is, if stopped by cops, don’t run. This whole situation reeks.