On May 1, Baltimore residents will find out whether six officers will be charged in the death of resident Freddie Gray, who died from severe spinal injuries received shortly after being arrested. It’s what transpired during that transport that has launched a federal investigation, as local authorities are being asked to explain how Gray somehow ended up with a broken neck and crushed voice box before falling into a coma and dying less than a week after his initial arrest on April 12.
There have been more questions than actual answers, including the reason that Gray was even arrested. According to police, after making eye contact with an officer Gray initially tried to flee which led to his apprehension, though the actual charges have yet to be revealed. Although Gray didn’t resist arrest, he did ask for medical attention multiple times before being pinned down and handcuffed. He was then placed in the van without a seat belt, a clear violation of department policy that a union rep explained is referred to as a “rough ride” –a driving practice used to intentionally cause injuries to the suspect. Despite asking for help several times, it would take three additional stops including the addition of another passenger, before paramedics were called for the injured Gray, who died after falling into a coma. He was 25-years-old.
Despite pleas from the family for non-violent demonstrations, Baltimore erupted over the weekend as many try to understand yet another death at the hands of authorities. To date, all six officers remain on paid suspension as a Federal investigation continues to determine whether any charges will be filed in the case. The Baltimore Sun reported at least two other cases of injuries received directly from the infamous “rough ride” tactic, an issue that may play a factor in the case going forward.
Members of the Baltimore Police Department have already admitted that errors were made as Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, who is leading the local investigation, agreed that Gray should have received treatment at the time of arrest after eyewitnesses say he screamed for assistance, stating that he was having difficulty breathing. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts shared the same sentiments, telling a group of reporters: “We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.”
This case is still developing.