Freddie Gray

Man Suffers Fatal Spine Injury in Police Custody in Baltimore: Cops Have No Video, Don't Know What Happened, Not Sure Why They Pursued Him in the First Place

Was charged with possession of a switchblade. Six cops suspended with pay after his death.

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via CBS 13

Authorities in Baltimore are calling for calm after a man died from a spine injury while in police custody and cops have no answers. Freddie Gray was arrested last Sunday, April 12, suffered an unspecified "medical emergency" that caused a fatal spine injury but no other physical injury while in police custody the same day.

The police department suspended, with pay, six of the officers involved in the interaction with Gray, but can't say how Gray's spine was injured, or even why police interacted with him in the first place. Police Commissioner Anthony Betts said that he only knew cops made eye contact with Gray and another man, and chased them when the two started running. Gray was charged with possession of a switchblade.

Al-Jazeera America reports:

Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said officers had arrested Gray without using force after he fled when they approached him. They put him into a police van to take him to a station, he told a news conference.

"I know that when Mr. Gray was placed inside that van, he was able to talk, upset, and when Mr. Gray was taken out of that van, he could not talk and he could not breathe," Rodriguez said.

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said a wide-ranging and transparent department investigation would be concluded by the end of next week and the results forwarded to state prosecutors. After that, the probe will undergo an independent review, he said.

"We will examine every piece of evidence, and we will go wherever the evidence takes us," Batts said.

Baltimore's mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said she was "angry that we are here again," appearing to blame the incident for renewed distrust of police in the community. But she need go no further than a council meeting at city hall to find out that distrust of police has been quite visible even before Gray's death.

Just in December, a lawsuit by a former police officer alleged retaliation for whistleblowing about police brutality that included a dead rat on his windshield. The city is unlikely to admit wrongdoing in the lawsuit and is fighting it in court. Any settlement the city may come too will almost certainly avoid placing any responsibility on the police department for the actions alleged in the lawsuit—standard operating procedure for misconduct suits. Rawlings-Blake and the rest of Baltimore's political class may have talking the talk down pat on police brutality—but only actual policy reforms can stem the police violence.

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  1. cops made eye contact with Gray and another man, and chased them when the two started running.

    Predator response kicked in. NEVER run from a predator.

    1. Play dead?

      1. Pee your pants and hope for the best.

        1. These “defensive measures” are all beginning to sound eerily similar to the anti-gunner’s advice to women on how to combat rape.

      2. What I always taught my sons was when you see a predator stand tall, make yourself look as large as possible, never lock eyes with them and never run from them. Play dead; if you have too, but better than actual dead.

        The caveat is if you are near safety (car, etc) then you can make a run for it, but understand they will chase.

        1. With cops, those actions will look like aggression and be used to justify using force against whoever does them.

          Carlos Miller at PINAC has a story of a young man assaulted and arrested for giving a “dehumanizing look.” There’s no winning here until they are held to standards of conduct with respect to the rights of persons.

    2. Exactly this. I was saying the same thing yesterday.

  2. They beat him to teach him a lesson–to teach him who was in charge. And nothing will happen.

    In Chicago an off duty cop who fired into a crowd because they were making too much noise, hit a woman in the back of the head–he was acquitted by the judge b/c prosecutors didn’t file the right charge. Unbelievable. Read about it here http://abc7chicago.com/news/ju…..op/672864/

    1. No, PI, this is very believable. When the cops act so egregiously that they have to be charged the prosecution always messes that up, deliberately. Because once they’ve been tried, they can’t be tried again unless the feds step in and that’s also a rare move.

      1. Sadly yes, it is all too believable. I have, in the not too distant past, become sensitized to just how badly cops behave. Before, I was a law-and-order-don’t-break-the-law -if-you-don’t-want-to-have-police-screw- with-you type conservative. The scales have dropped from my eyes.

        1. I’m glad you’ve had a revelation. It takes courage to honestly evaluate evidence which contradicts your beliefs. The most useful thing you could do is to try to plant seeds of doubt in your former law-n-order fellows.

    2. he was acquitted by the judge b/c prosecutors didn’t file the right charge.

      Funny how that works out.

  3. Possession of a switchblade? Possession of a throw down weapon they mean.

    1. Maybe they should charge him with receiving stolen property too, since that blade was probably taken from someone else during a previous stop.

  4. Nickel ride.

    You put the guy in the back of the van in handcuffs, swerve wildly and let the walls do the battering for you.

    Fucking scum.

  5. The beatings by police officers will continue until you trust the police more!

  6. The police department … can’t say how Gray’s spine was injured

    or it’ll be “Burn this bitch down!”

  7. Clearly a suicide by cop.

  8. Rawlings-Blake said she was “angry that we are here again.”

    What’s this “we”, Your Honor?

  9. I can’t believe switchblades are even a ‘thing’ anymore once they came out with all these one-handed/thumb-operated knives. Does that couple milliseconds make it more dangerous than a fucking spyderco?
    I’m just still salty that the TSA dropouts at the Pentagon “Force Protection” Agency confiscated my benchmade auto, not for being a switchblade (although they did say I’d be in trouble w/ VA if they wanted to make that happen), but for being a blade a half inch longer than the 2.5 inch limit.

    1. Yeah, it’s stupid. It always has been stupid. It’s just a knife that is convenient to open with one hand.
      As far as I can tell the only reason they are in a special class and illegal in a lot of places is that they looked scary in some movies.

      1. Yeah, back when they were the only knives that could be opened one-handed. That monopoly is long gone.

  10. Tulpa’s jacking off so hard he’s going to hurt himself. As is, it’s probably permanently scabby.

  11. “I know that when Mr. Gray was placed inside that van, he was able to talk, upset, and when Mr. Gray was taken out of that van, he could not talk and he could not breathe,” Rodriguez said.

    Well if someone got into my car and then they were found dead from physical injury after they got out of my car, I’m sure that I would be merely suspended from my job while the DA and police work to exonerate me.

    1. Well said.

  12. And also yesterday,the FBI admits hair test were faked,innocents in jail and a cop outside Detroit beats the hell out of a guy on video. It’s every day it seems there’s another nut punch.,or two.

    1. Every day is more proof that the state and all of it’s sycophants, are unfit to exist.

      1. Life’s a bitch, and then you die.

  13. Police Commissioner Anthony Betts said that he only knew cops made eye contact with Gray and another man, and chased them when the two started running.

    Baboons. With guns.

    1. Where’s that damn “like” button?

    2. Maybe they were afraid the cops would break their spines?

  14. or even why police interacted with him in the first place.

    I’m gonna go with BFYTW.

  15. The police department suspended, with pay, six of the officers involved in the interaction with Gray

    Of course.

    charged with possession of a switchblade.

    For the life of me, I cannot imagine how this passes constitutional muster.

    Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said a wide-ranging and transparent department investigation would be concluded by the end of next week

    Which will find that procedures were followed. Nothing to see here.

  16. Rawlings-Blake and the rest of Baltimore’s political class may have talking the talk down pat on police brutality?but only actual policy reforms can stem the police violence.

    Like, say, putting some of these motherfuckers in prison, right there with the general population.

  17. Is it just me, or is the media MUCH more engaged in bringing police abuses to light than they were even a couple years ago? Used to be whenever Radley Balko would post one of his “isolated incident” nut-punches, this would be the ONLY place I heard the story. I would mention Corey Maye or Ryan Frederick in conversation and the rest of the world would all “Corey who now?” Now, I’m seeing these things on the Today show (my personal barometer of what is in the mainstream) every damn week. And amazingly, they aren’t all be presented through the lens of “obviously these heroes have to do what they have to do to get home safe”, there seems to be an undertone that maybe, just maybe, some of this shit isn’t OK. Despite the fact that Ferguson doesn’t look like it “deserved” to be the bellwether case for police abuse, did it nonetheless achieve the useful effect of causing a media critical mass?

    I have no belief whatsoever that any meaningful reforms will result. I just think that this issue seems to be part of the broader public discourse in a way that it wasn’t a few years ago.

    1. They have the video’s handed to them from private sources.No work involved.Plus,there’s no sense taking the cop line when the videos show up on the internet.. Now that people can film and upload the beatings they have no choice but to run with it.

      1. Good point, I’m sure that is contributing as well.

    2. As noted by Adans they can’t ignore those vids without being scooped by Youtube, which they hate. A real sea change will be when they start looking for this themselves, going into crusading journalist mode, as it were. And duly noted that in at least one of the recent cases the footage originated from the camera crew of a TV station.

  18. If only the Democrats were in charge! No, wait…
    If only the mayor was a person of color! Hold on…
    This wouldn’t happen if a black man ran the police department! What? Umm…

  19. maybe he fell down the stairs.

    in the van.

    you know, that sort of stuff happens all the time…

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  21. The problem with covering these stories in national news is that ALL the facts are never disclosed, and by making them major news stories before ANY of the facts are known, people are free to assume what ever they wish to be the facts regardless of any real facts that are later discovered and to assume that the real facts are simply covering up the truth as they had previously decided it to be.

  22. Hm. Weird. Maybe *nobody* did it. Maybe it was a ghost!

  23. I like that they’re calling for calm. What’s thst call sound like?

    “…or there’s gonna be a lot more spontaneal spinous injuries…”

  24. The Carcetti administration wouldn’t stand for this.

  25. And cue passive voice police report… Anyone care to try wording one for them?

  26. At the risk of seemingly overly simplistic, there is a very bad smell about this affair.

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