What Happened to Freddie Gray? Clues, But No Answers, in Initial Report

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Freddie Gray
Freddie Gray

Yesterday, the Baltimore police concluded their initial investigation into the death of Freddie Gray and turned a report over to Marilyn Mosby, the city’s top prosecutor. And immediately, the rumors began swirling.

The police reviewed few details from the report, but what they did reveal led to rampant speculation: Gray was pursued by police after making eye contact and then running away. He was arrested “without the use of force” when police found a switchblade legal knife on him. He requested his inhaler. He was dragged, seemingly limp and in pain, into the police van. On the way to the Western District police station, the van pulled over once so Gray, who was “acting irate,” could be put in leg shackles. Gray was not put into a seatbelt, which is against department policy. The van made another stop, at a West Baltimore corner store. At 8:59 AM, 17 minutes after his arrest, the driver asked someone to check on Gray. When the van got to the station at 9:24 AM, police called for medics, who transported Gray to Maryland Shock Trauma, where he died one week later.

According to leaked comments from police sources, a Washington TV station reported that the investigation indicated that Gray wasn’t injured during the arrest, but that his severe spine injury happened in the back of the police van. A head injury that Gray sustained reportedly matches a bolt in the back of the van. If true, this would fit the theory that Gray was given a “rough ride”–an intentionally violent and jolting trip in a police van that can, as the New York Times puts it, “do as much damage as a police baton without an officer having to administer a blow.” But a relative of one of the six officers who arrested Gray told CNN that her relative believed that the young man sustained his fatal injuries during the arrest.

There’s still a lot that we don’t know–what happened at that previously undisclosed corner store stop? If Gray was only injured once he was in the van, why does video show him limp and screaming shortly after the arrest?–and it’s unclear whether the report will ever be able to give us answers. Now, the ball is in Mosby’s court: She has to decide whether to file charges against the officers who arrested Gray.



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