27-year-old black man dies from severed spine after arrest in Baltimore

Maryland police are conducting a criminal investigation into the death of a black man who lapsed into a coma and died in their custody a week after his arrest at the Gilmor Homes in Baltimore.

Freddie Gray, 27, died Sunday after he ‘had his spine 80 percent severed at his neck’ following his arrest by four bicycle officers for violation that’s being kept ‘secret’ according to his lawyer.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake vowed to ensure the city held ‘the right people accountable’ after his early-morning death at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Gray’s stepfather, Richard Shipley, confirmed the death of his stepson, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Shipley said: ‘He’s gone. What else is there to say?’

A timeline released earlier in the week by police said Gray was taken by a prisoner transport van from the ‘crime’ scene to the Western District station shortly before 9am last Sunday.

While he was in the van, Gray was put in additional restrains, according to CBS Baltimore.

Thirty minutes after he was put in restraints, an ambulance was called to the police station to take Gray to the hospital.

Gray suffered a broken vertebra and an injured voice box, according to his family.

Civilian video showed him being loaded into the van, but did not show the entire encounter.

During the video, a woman said: ‘That boy’s legs look broke.

‘His legs [look] broke and y’all dragging him like that.’

The race of the officers involved could not immediately be confirmed and they have been placed on leave.

The alleged violation that led to Gray’s arrest has not been disclosed.

An attorney retained by Gray’s family, William ‘Billy’ Murphy, described the circumstances leading up to the young man’s death: ‘On last Sunday morning at about 8am, the police chased Freddie Gray, a 27-year-old healthy man, without any evidence he had committed a crime.

‘His take-down and arrest without probable cause occurred under a police video camera, which taped everything including the police dragging and throwing Freddie into a police vehicle while he screamed in pain.

‘While in police custody, his spine was 80 per cent severed at his neck.

‘He lapsed into a coma, died, was resuscitated, stayed in a coma and on Monday, underwent extensive surgery at Shock Trauma to save his life.

‘He clung to life for seven days and died today at approximately 7am.

‘We believe the police are keeping the circumstances of Freddie’s death secret until they develop a version of events that will absolve them of all responsibility.

‘However, his family and the citizens of Baltimore deserve to know the real truth; and we will not stop until we get justice for Freddie.’

Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said the criminal investigation was underway.

He said: ‘It’s a two-part investigation.

‘One is a criminal case, for Mr Gray and also the officers.

‘We always have that component in there to determine whether there is criminal culpability.’

Rodriguez declined to specify why the officers stopped Gray.

‘We had officers in a high-crime area known to have high narcotic incidents,’ he said

‘The officers believe that Mr Gray was immediately involved or recently involved in criminal activity and decided to make contact.’

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she had the same questions as reporters: ‘How was Mr. Gray injured?

‘Were the proper protocols and procedures actually followed?

‘What are the next steps to take from here?’

She promised a thorough investigation and ‘real answers’ for the community.

Source: The DailyMail

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