The death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray has sparked outrage among residents of his native Baltimore hometown. Following his arrest on the morning of Apr. 12, Gray succumbed to spinal injuries sustained while in police custody, and died on Apr. 19.
While the original occurrence of Gray’s death has garnered considerable attention, unrest in the city became the focal point of reports last night (Apr. 27) after rioting took place on the date of Gray’s funeral. But what are the details surrounding his arrest and death? Why has it all come to this?
Here is everything you need to know about Freddie Gray’s arrest and death.
- According to multiple reports, Freddie Gray’s interaction with police on the morning of Apr. 12 began with eye contact made at approximately 8:30 a.m. with one officer. After three officers on bicycles approached, Gray ran, prompting a chase. [The Baltimore Sun]
- Once apprehended, officers discovered a small pocket knife on Gray, leading to an arrest for weapon possession. “The officer noticed a knife clipped to the inside of his front right pants pocket. The defendant was arrested without force or incident,” court documents read. “The knife was recovered by this officer and found to be a spring-assisted, one-hand-operated knife.” [CNN]
- The “without force or incident” portion of reports has been questioned, based on footage taken by bystanders, which show Gray screaming in pain while being dragged to a police van. He also reportedly requested an inhaler, as he suffers from asthma.
- Upon loading Gray into the police van, officers claim he was “irate.” They subsequently took Gray out of the van to place him in shackles. Video obtained of the police stop counter the officers’ statement, as Gray does not appear to be in an agitated state. This was one of possibly two other stops made by the van before arriving at the police station. [Daily Mail]
- While in the van, Gray was not placed in a seatbelt, which is a violation of police policy. “Policy is policy, practice is something else,” particularly if a prisoner is combative,” an attorney for one of the officers The Associated Press. “It is not always possible or safe for officers to enter the rear of those transport vans that are very small, and this one was very small.” [ABC News]
- Police arrive at the station, and call paramedics at approximately 9:30 a.m. for an “unconscious male.” Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said, “We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.” [CNN]
- Gray was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he underwent surgery for three fractured neck vertebrae and a crushed voice box. These injuries were likened to injuries sustained by an elderly person after a car crash. Doctors count “powerful blunt force” and “hyperextension of the neck” among the ways to damage the vertebrae surrounding the spinal cord. [The Baltimore Sun]
The officers involved
- Six officers have been suspended with pay with regards to Gray’s death: Lt. Brian Rice, 41, who joined the department in 1997; Officer Caesar Goodson, 45, who joined in 1999; Sgt. Alicia White, 30, who joined in 2010; Officer William Porter, 25, who joined in 2012; Officer Garrett Miller, 26, who joined in 2012; Officer Edward Nero, 29, who joined in 2012.
- Five of the six officers gave recorded statements on Freddie Gray’s arrest. One officer opted not to give a statement under his constitutional right. He was reportedly not the arresting officer. [ABC News]
- The Department of Justice announced on Apr. 23 that they would launch an investigation to determine whether any “prosecutable” civil rights were violated during Gray’s arrest. [Huffington Post]
- Police Commissioner Anthony Batts is spearheading a departmental investigation of Gray’s arrest. Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis said they would look into all details surrounding the incident. “How long it took, the distance, the travel route,” he said. “We need to know from A to Z what exactly occurred on each and every stop.” Thirty investigators have been added to a task force. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake stated that the investigation would be “comprehensive, thorough and fair,” and that “we will hold the appropriate parties responsible.” [New York Daily News]