Freddie Gray

Freddie Gray Autopsy: 'High-Energy' Ride Killed Him

Involuntary manslaughter?


Freddie Gray

The just-released autopsy report on the death of Freddie Gray—the 25-year-old Baltimore man who died of a spinal injury while in custody in a police van—branded the incident a homicide, according to The Baltimore Sun:

Freddie Gray suffered a single "high-energy injury" — like those seen in shallow-water diving incidents — most likely caused when the police van in which he was riding suddenly decelerated, according to a copy of the autopsy report obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

The state medical examiner's office concluded that Gray's death fit the medical and legal definition of an accident, but ruled it to be a homicide because officers failed to follow safety procedures "through acts of omission."

Though Gray was loaded into the van on his belly, the medical examiner surmised that he may have gotten to his feet and was thrown into the wall during an abrupt change in direction. He was not belted in, but his wrists and ankles were shackled, making him "at risk for an unsupported fall during acceleration or deceleration of the van."

The autopsy report would seem to lend credence to the involuntary manslaughter charges against some of the officers. As Reason's Jacob Sullum wrote in May:

Another charge [Officer Caesar] Goodson faces, involuntary manslaughter, is easier to prove, since it includes deaths caused by negligence, an unlawful act (other than a felony), or failure to perform a legal duty. Based on Mosby's allegations, that charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, also seems appropriate for Lt. Brian Rice, Officer William Porter, and Sgt. Alicia White, who are accused of repeatedly failing to belt Gray in and repeatedly failing to help him when it became clear he needed medical attention. Their alleged inaction may very well have amounted to negligence or failure to perform a legal duty.

Read more from Reason on the death of Freddie Gray here.

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  1. NICKEL RIDE!!!!!!

    They deserve murder charges. This wasn’t an accident. They meant to injure him with a rough ride. They fucked up and accidentally battered him to death. Second degree murder due to depraved indifference.

    1. You want their guts for garters, right?

    2. Yes, this was a totally foreseeable and reasonable consequence of their (criminal) actions.

    3. Isn’t that manslaughter? “I wanted to teach him a lesson, then he up and died on me”

      And so much passive voice in those three short paragraphs.

      1. no. I think a death that results of criminal actions- or is the foreseeable consequence of said actions- is murder, no?

        1. I can just see the defense there – “Look, your honor, I gave out so many nickel rides I qualify for Chapter 11, and this is the first time one of them died! How could I foresee that?”

        2. I think Spencer is right, therefore the officers will be let go because they weren’t charged harshly enough and double-jeopardy is a no-no.

    4. It doesn’t matter what you know. It matters what you can prove. How to you prove that these thugs were depraved and not merely incompetent?

  2. Squirrelz

  3. Yeah, the squirrels are getting bigger. Comments aren’t satisfying them any more. Now they need whole articles.

    1. Ah Robby slayed that squirrel fairly quickly!. Good on you Mr. Soave.

      1. Don’t compliment Robby. He might get the impression that everyone doesn’t hate him, and then he’ll start posting all kinds of nonsense.

        j/k. We love you, Robby! And I do mean “we”. I speak for the entire commentariat collective.

        1. I do kind of hate him, actually.

          1. but it’s a hatred born of jealousy- an that means envy, and that means you value him or his traits, and that means you love him.

            1. Lol, wat?

              1. Hate is not the opposite of love. It’s a cousin. Apathy is the opposite of love. I totally have no emotion whatsoever towards Mr Soave.

                1. Your poetry, very good!

        2. You don’t even speak for Mothra, let alone me.

          I *like* you Robby, Let’s make this clear.

          1. Fair enough. I speak for the residents of Monster Island, as their duly elected representative.

            1. When did the residents of Monster Island hold an election? Not that I planned on voting or anything.

              1. And if I had, I’m totally a Gamera supporter because of my fondness for turtles.

              2. If I remember correctly, there is a scene in Destroy All Monsters! where they do hold an election.

              3. “Monster Island is actually a peninsula!”

            2. I’d rather go to Candy Apple Island

          2. “like” like, or just like?

            1. Dang, and I thought I was clear.

  4. It’s hard out there for a Minister of Defence.

  5. I guess Baltimore will take down those “buckle up or you might get hurt!” police road signs now, right?

  6. “High energy”?
    *checks style guide*
    Nope. Nothing.

  7. It was the Four Loko of police-rides!!


    1. Some would say four loko is the police ride of booze, but far less people have died from experiencing four loko.

      1. “less people have died from experiencing four loko.”

        That *they know about*

        1. Yes! The four loko files!

        2. There are *literally* bodies piled up like cord wood outside the emergency rooms of states where Four Loko hasn’t been banned yet.

          I have no idea what they all died from, but correlation must equal some kind of causation, if I recall middle school science correctly.

          1. I’m going to come out with 5 loko- and advertise that it’s totally death free… even though it will have 5 times the death inside!

            1. lol its so 1990s

              RECYCLE!! TO THE EXTREME

  8. So who gets the ticket for not wearing a seat belt?

  9. Gray suffered a single “high-energy injury” ? like those seen in shallow-water diving airbag-deployment incidents


  10. Hypothetically speaking, if this is standard practice in Baltimore, wouldn’t the entire chain of command be criminally liable for allowing nickel rides to happen?

    1. If suing the fuck out of the whole rotten bureaucracy were ever actually viable i think it might have happened by now.

      Chinatown, Jake

  11. Sounds like some serious business.

  12. It’s puzzling that there was another passenger in the van, who was not injured and did not report a “rough ride.” Maybe he’s being quiet in hopes that he’ll get better treatment than if he blabs, but then, you’d think he’d get better treatment if he publicly supported the DA’s case.

    1. Don’t worry Papaya I’m sure you and your buddies at Twitchy will find a way to exculpate Officer Friendly.

      1. Tell ’em Cyto! What kind of an asshole would raise a ridiculous question like how two guys in the same vehicle had distinctly different experiences and outcomes? Like that’s in any way relevant. It’s certainly not going to come up at trial or anything.

        1. Goodness, you’re a fucking idiot, aren’t you?

    2. Ah, PapayaSF. You’re even more reliable than Tulpa or Dunphy when it comes to excusing cops.

      1. Reading comprehension fail.

    3. The other passenger was buckled in.

    4. There are at least 17 minutes between the time Gray was initially placed in the van and the time the van picked up the second suspect.

  13. “He was not belted in”

    Click it, or ticket.

  14. All this boo-hooing over somebody like Freddie Gray, a member of a family that included both a philatelist and a thespian, numerous relatives that openly engaged in monogamous relationships, a mother frequently described as callipygian, an uncle given to hortatory declamations, an ambidextrous brother, the list goes on and on over what sort of people we are dealing with here.

    1. Friend you post is read by your fellow americans. The use of uh and duh would be more appropriate

    2. *Nods graciously* I love busting out the dictionary.

  15. You know who else rode in automobiles?

    1. Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

  16. Girls Who Ride in Cars?

  17. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  18. If the Baltimore cops get off which I they probably will I hope the protesters get the address of the cops and jurors and go to their neighborhood if are going to protest. Even better go to the Mayors and Chief of Polices neighborhood. Remember that the people in your neighbor didn’t do these evil things.

  19. I think at best they will get a conviction for criminal negligence.

    I don’t buy the claim that they were afraid to strap him in because he was acting up, but the cops are going to reinforce eachother’s stories so it will be difficult to prove they deliberately gave him a nickel ride.

    However, if they knew they had an unbuckled passenger in the back, they should have driven more carefully.

    1. The simplest solution to this would be personal civil liability for their actions/negligence. There is a level of incompetence that people shouldn’t be immunized against and that the taxpayer shouldn’t have to pay for.

  20. I’m pretty anti-cop but I don’t understand the involuntary manslaughter charges or the depraved heart murder charge. At first, the cops belted him in but he kept rocking the van, leading the cops laid him down in the van. If he’d stayed down, he wouldn’t have been injured. Instead, he worked out how to stand himself up while shackled. You don’t need a very high IQ to know that the odds of falling down while in a moving van are pretty high. His own recklessness killed him, certainly not the cops. I especially don’t see how the prosecutor can reach the level of proof required for depraved-heart murder charge, which requires that “This highly blameworthy state of mind is not one of mere negligence. It is not merely one even of gross criminal negligence. It involves rather the deliberate perpetration of a knowingly dangerous act with reckless and wanton unconcern and indifference as to whether anyone is harmed or not.”

    The cops should be punished for not following protocol and false arrest but involuntary manslaughter and depraved heart murder seems extreme.

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