Freddie Gray's Autopsy Report Reveals He Suffered A "'High-Energy Injury," Similar To Diving Into Shallow Water
Nearly two months after it was completed, but before it's been made public, a leaked report of Freddie Gray's autopsy concluded that his death was a homicide. The report, which was obtained by The Baltimore Sun and published on Wednesday, revealed that Gray suffered a serious injury likely caused by the way the van was driven, and that the injury was not an accident since the officers did not take the proper measures to prevent it. Though Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosby condemned the leaking of the autopsy, it does validate her decision to promptly slap the six officers involved with criminal charges.
According to the autopsy report, the state medical examiner's office concluded that Gray suffered a single "high-energy injury" to his neck and spine. The medical examiner compared the injury to the impact of a diving into shallow water and wrote that it was most likely caused by a sudden deceleration of the van. In conclusion, the report said, Gray's death cannot be ruled an accident, and was in fact a homicide, because the officers failed to follow proper safety procedures "through acts of omission."
The report details a timeline of events surrounding Gray's arrest and transport in the van. After he was placed into the van on his belly, the medical examiner theorized that he may have stood up somehow and was then thrown into the wall when the van decelerated or changed direction suddenly. And since he was not belted in but shackled at the wrists and feet, he was very much "at risk for an unsupported fall during acceleration or deceleration of the van."
Assistant Medical Examiner Carol H. Allan wrote in the report:
[It was] not an unforeseen event that a vulnerable individual was injured during operation of the vehicle, and that without prompt medical attention, the injury would prove fatal.
The report also concluded that the most serious injury was to the lower left part of Gray's head, and that the spinal and head damage would have affected the function of his limbs and caused him to have difficulty breathing, which the autopsy noted was what the officers observed during the fourth stop at Dolphin Street and Druid Hill Avenue.
The assisting officer opened the doors and observed Mr. Gray lying belly down on the floor with his head facing the cabin compartment, and reportedly he was asking for help, saying he couldn't breathe, couldn't get up, and needed a medic. The officer assisted Mr. Gray to the bench and the van continued on its way.
By the fifth stop, when the officers picked up a second arrestee, the report states:
Mr. Gray was found kneeling on the floor, facing the front of the van and slumped over to his right against the bench, and reportedly appeared lethargic with minimal responses to direct questions.
Following the leak, Mosby issued a statement that condemned "anyone with access to trial evidence who has leaked information prior to the resolution of this case."
In April, Mosby was quick to file charges against the six officers involved. Of the multiple charges each officer was indicted on, Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who was driving the van, has been indicted on second-degree depraved-heart murder; Sgt. Alicia D. White, Officer William F. Porter, and Lt. Brian W. Rice have been indicted on manslaughter; and Officers Edward M. Nero and Garrett E. Miller have been indicted on second-degree assault.
All six officers have pleaded not guilty and a trial date has been set for October.
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