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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
freddie gray

Outrage and protests after death of black man arrested by Baltimore police

Freddie Gray died on Sunday, a week after he was arrested and suffered a severed spinal cord.

Suspect Dies Baltimore AP / Press Association Images Rev. Jamal Bryant protests outside the Baltimore Police Western District on Tuesday evening. AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

THE CITY OF Baltimore, Maryland is entering another night of protests, after the death of Freddie Gray on Sunday, a week after he suffered “catastrophic” spinal cord injuries in police custody.

Gray, a 25-year-old black man known to police, was arrested on 12 April next to the Gilmor Homes housing project in West Baltimore, after he “made eye contact” with an officer, and began running.

He was later taken to hospital in critical condition, before falling into a coma and dying on Sunday.

Parts of Gray’s arrest were captured in these bystander videos, which some viewers may find disturbing:

Les Grossman 2015 Channel / YouTube

CNN / YouTube

In an official report, Baltimore police said Gray was arrested “without force or incident,” and Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez last week said “at no time did I see a use of force.”

On Monday, after Gray’s death, Rodriguez told reporters:

He did suffer a very tragic injury to his spinal cord, and that resulted in his death. What we don’t know, and what we need to get to, is how that injury occured.
I know that when Mr Gray was placed inside that van he was able to talk, he was upset. And when Mr Gray was taken out of that van, he could not talk and he could not breathe.

Earlier today, Baltimore police announced that all six officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray had been suspended with pay, and that five of them had given statements to an internal investigation.

The US Department of Justice has also initiated a federal investigation into the arrest and death of the 25-year-old, to determine whether civil rights violations were at play.

‘The lesson here is he didn’t run fast enough’ 

Suspect Dies Baltimore AP / Press Association Images Supporters and family members of Freddie Gray lead a march to the Baltimore Police Department's Western District on Tuesday. AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

The episode has caused outrage in the mostly black city of Baltimore, and protesters picketed outside the Western District police headquarters on Tuesday evening.

The demonstrations were peaceful, but emotional, according to local media and video accounts.

The charges against Gray stated that he was in possession of a “switch blade”, but Billy Murphy, a lawyer for Freddie Gray’s family, said police didn’t have sufficient probable cause to justify his arrest at the time.

Murphy told the media that Gray’s spine was “catastrophically” injured, and “80% severed in the neck area.”

In an interview with CBS News yesterday, his verdict was scathing:

The lesson here was that he should have run and he didn’t run fast enough.

Further protests are ongoing tonight, with demonstrators gathering at City Hall, and near the site of Gray’s arrest, the 1700 block of Presbury Street in West Baltimore.

Read: US police officer charged with murdering black man after video of shooting emerges>

Read: Police officer pleads not guilty to slamming a grandfather into the ground, paralysing him>

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