Yet another black man died Sunday after a run-in with the police. Baltimore police revealed details about the arrest of Freddie Gray Monday, after he died Sunday morning due to a spinal injury believed to have occurred during his arrest. The police had said little about the incident before Monday, leading the residents of Baltimore to be even more wary about the circumstances surrounding Gray's death.
Two witnesses recorded the April 12 arrest of the 25-year-old on their cell phones. The videos clearly show police dragging Gray to a police van as he screams in pain, but the videos don't start until Gray is already on the ground in handcuffs. The police's timeline of events reveals a gap in time between the arrest and when paramedics were called.
According to the police department, cops chased and caught Gray, cuffed him, and requested a police van within four minutes. The van left with Gray inside 11 minutes later, and another 30 minutes passed before the police called paramedics to pick up Gray at the police station. According to a statement from the Gray's family attorney, William Murphy Jr., Gray's spine was 80 percent severed at his neck. He told CNN: "He lapsed into a coma, died, was resuscitated, stayed in a coma and on Monday underwent extensive surgery at Shock Trauma to save his life. He clung to life for seven days."
The Baltimore Police Department spokesman, Captain Eric Kowalczyk, told CNN Sunday: "Officers were working in an area that is known for violent crime and drug sales. Officers went to make an encounter with Mr. Gray when he fled from them." It was unclear why the police initially approached Gray, but a court summons obtained by The Baltimore Sun Monday said he "fled unprovoked upon noticing police presence" and that officers found a knife in his pants pocket. The court document also says that Gray "was arrested without force or incident."
Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez told The Washington Post, "We had officers in a high-crime area known to have high narcotic incidents. The officers believe that Mr. Gray was immediately involved or recently involved in criminal activity and decided to make contact." A criminal investigation was also underway. "It’s a two-part investigation," said Rodriguez. "One is a criminal case, for Mr. Gray and also the officers. We always have that component in there to determine whether there is criminal culpability."
Protestors gathered outside the Baltimore police state Gray was originally taken to throughout the weekend with signs that read "Black Lives Matter," demanding to know why Gray was arrested and what led to his death.
On Monday, about 50 protestors marched from Baltimore's City Hall to police headquarters with a banner that said "Stop police terror." Colleen Davidson, of the Baltimore People's Power Assembly, said she organized the rally at the request of Gray's family. "This is just one of the most egregious cases I've ever seen. We felt the need to be out here and make it known that we will not stand and watch things like this happen."