Baltimore Officers In Freddie Gray's Death Have Been Suspended As Authorities Investigate His Fatal Injuries
Baltimore officials on Monday said six officers involved in Freddie Gray's arrest were suspended without pay while investigators looked into what led to the 25-year-old's death. The young man died Sunday from a severe spinal injury sustained while in police custody, though how the injury happened is still unknown. An autopsy conducted Monday revealed Gray's spine was 80 percent severed at his neck, according to a family statement.
Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said the department would conclude its investigation Friday, May 1. Then, the state attorney's office would determine whether the officers should be charged. Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said there was "no evidence" of excessive force being used, based on the involved officers' reports and the autopsy's preliminary results.
What remains unclear, however, is what happened in the time Gray was inside the van and why it took so long for authorities to alert medical services. Officials confirmed Gray repeatedly asked for medical care as well as his inhaler during the 11-minute transport. But an ambulance wasn't called until 30 minutes later to pick up Gray from the Western District police station.
Authorities have been relatively quiet as to why Gray was stopped in the first place on April 12. According to police reports, Gray "fled unprovoked upon noticing police presence." After a brief pursuit, Gray was detained and was discovered to be carrying a small switchblade knife. Police said an officer pulled out a Taser but didn't use it during the arrest. Bystanders filmed video moments of the arrest, which showed Gray being pinned to the ground before he was taken to the police van.
Authorities said the van stopped to put leg cuffs on Gray, before it was called to pick up another prisoner. Both Gray and the other prisoner were taken to Western District. The two were separated by a metal barrier. The van did not have a camera inside. A half-hour later, Gray was taken to the University of Maryland Medical Center's Shock Trauma Center where he went into a week-long coma before his death, family attorney William Murphy told CNN. Murphy said Gray was in good health until the police chase.
The incident has sparked a protest in Baltimore against police violence and has brought national attention to the Maryland city still struggling with a reputation for crime. In October, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would work with the Baltimore police department review its practices after multiple reports of excessive force and other misconduct. The Baltimore Sun reported the city paid nearly $6 million in judgments and settlements in 102 civil suits that alleged police misconduct since 2011.