BALTIMORE (WJZ) –National tensions around police brutality focus right here in Baltimore after a 25-year-old man dies from injuries he sustained while in city police custody.
On April 12, 2015, at exactly 8:40 a.m., 25-year-old Freddie Gray was apprehended in the 1700 block of Presbury Street.Two minutes later, cell phone video shows Freddie Gray screaming as police drag him into a transport van.
According to a timeline provided by Baltimore Police, at 8:54 a.m. Gray was put in additional restraints inside the van. But, at 9:24 a.m., he was rushed to the hospital, attorneys say his spine was 80 percent severed at his neck where three bones were broken. Gray later lapsed into a coma and died Sunday morning at approximately 7:00 a.m.
Now friends and family members want to know what happened between 8:54 a.m. when the van left, and 9:24 a.m. when Gray needed medical attention at the police station.
On Saturday night, a protest was held in Gray’s honor to demand answers from police.
Following Gray’s death Sunday morning, outraged protesters took to the streets again, calling it another case of police brutality.
On Sunday afternoon, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Anthony Batts held a press conference regarding Gray’s death.
“Commissioner Batts and the police department are moving very swiftly to complete this investigation as soon as possible. We’re committed to transparency and we will release additional details as we complete the investigation,” she said. “I understand the frustrations of the community. I take very seriously the obligation of transparency. However, we also have to balance that with our responsibility to ensure a proper and thorough investigation. Therefore, we have to move forward in a responsible way to determine all the facts of this investigation so we can provide our community with the real answers. I will ensure that we hold the right people responsible.”
“On this holy day, a mother has lost her son,” said Commissioner Batts. “My greatest hope and wish and desire is that every time we have a contact as a police officer, everyone goes home safely. All lives matter in this city.”
Top brass in the police department are so far unable to explain how Gray was injured and say their investigation will examine whether officers did anything criminally wrong.
“Early on I can say with certainty that we have no physical video or any other evidence of an altercation that would have resulted this. So the question is how and why,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez.
“We will be transparent. We will be open,” Batts said. “What we will do is put together a hybrid task force…to go deep into the issues surrounding this occurrence and then we will go outside and look into an independent task force. At that time, we will continue to work with the state’s attorney and her oversight of our investigation.”
Billy Murphy, the family’s attorney says, “We want to see a fair response with an impartial investigation, not the cops investigating themselves.”
Murphy represents Freddie Gray’s family. He’s calling for an independent investigation by Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office and he wants police to release all videos that show Freddie Gray on the day he was taken into custody.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT:
“On last Sunday morning at about 8am, the police chased Freddie Gray, a 27 year old healthy man, without any evidence he had committed a crime. His take-down and arrest without probable cause occurred under a police video camera, which taped everything including the police dragging and throwing Freddy into a police vehicle while he screamed in pain. While in police custody, his spine was 80 percent severed at his neck. 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 and died today at approximately 7am. We believe the police are keeping the circumstances of Freddie’s death secret until they develop a version of events that will absolve them of all responsibility. However, his family and the citizens of Baltimore deserve to know the real truth; and we will not stop until we get justice for Freddie.”
Police say they’ve reached out to Freddie Gray’s family to explain to them the investigation process, they say the family did not want to have the meeting. Police say they’ll try reaching out to the family again this week.
The officer’s involved in Gray’s case have been placed on routine administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.