Freddie Gray died in the custody of the Baltimore police in April 2015. He was banged up so badly in the back of a police van, in the process of being transported to jail for allegedly possessing an illegal switchblade, that his spine was injured. He slipped into a coma and later died. The autopsy report attributed his death to a "high-energy impact," the result of a sudden deceleration of the van. Though his arms and legs were shackled, he was not belted in.
His death was ruled a homicide. Gray's treatment at the hands of police has a nickname—the "nickel ride," an abuse technique where victims are battered about inside a recklessly driven police vehicle. Six police officers face various charges for his death, and Baltimore has faced anger and unrest from citizens since the incident, including a destructive riot following Gray's burial.
While the city works on making a criminal case against the police officers, it's sparing no expense to resolve the Gray family's civil case, too. In September, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced a decision to pay the family a massive sum—$6.4 million—over two years. The Baltimore Sun noted that this payment will be larger than the total for all 120 other civil police misconduct suits brought against the city since 2011. The settlement would also bypass Maryland's $400,000 cap on liability for police abuse incidents.