Freddie Gray’s death due to spinal injury while in custody of police has new angles and twists that make the case all the more complex. An unnamed source said one of the six officers suspended for pending investigations believed Gray’s injury occurred during the arrest. A leaked police affidavit revealed that another prisoner heard Gray intentionally banging his body inside the van. Finally, an internal police document revealed that one of the officers who arrested Gray was once hospitalized because of mental illness.
One police officer believes Gray was injured during arrest
A relative of one of the six police officers under investigation said only one or two of them are responsible for the injury that led to the death of the black man.
“Six officers did not injure this man. Six officers didn’t put him in the hospital. I’m worried that instead of them figuring out who did, that six officers are going to be punished behind something that maybe one or two or even three officers may have done to Freddie Gray,” the relative told CNN.
The relative who has spoken under the condition of anonymity said her family member – who was the one driving the van – believed that the injury occurred outside the paddy wagon during the arrest. She added that the police refuse to get to Gray while he was inside the wagon because the arrested man was already irate and uncontrollable.
“He believes that Freddie Gray was injured outside the paddy wagon. They didn’t want to reach over him. You were in a tight space in the paddy wagon. He’s already irate,” she told CNN.
Gray was intentionally trying to injure himself
A sealed police document obtained by The Washington Post revealed that another prisoner who was also inside the van heard Gray banging against the walls. The other prisoner who was only separated from Gray by a metal partition said Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself.” However, an analysis by The Daily Beast considered the angle that Gray may have been getting the attention of the police to give him medical aid by banging himself on the wall. The analysis said that Gray had been asking the police for medical aid even before the second prisoner was placed inside the van with him.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts acknowledged that there were some protocol errors with how the officers handled Gray’s arrest. He said the police went deaf with Gray’s request for medical aid and that the officers also failed to secure him with a safety belt as they travel.
Freddie Gray Arrest: Van made mysterious stop
The van stopped three times on the way to a booking center, according to the affidavit. The first was to strap Gray in leg irons. At this point Gray was already irate as described by the officer who was driving the van. The warrant described Gray to be “combative in the police wagon.”
The van driver stopped the van for the second time and asked another officer to check on Gray. At this point, Gray was found on the floor of the van but was put back on the seat by the officer who checked on him. This is where Gray asked the police to give medical aid.
For the third stop, the other prisoner was placed inside the van. After this last stop, the van drove to a hospital at the Western District station. This is where Gray died on April 19.
One of the arresting officers was previously hospitalized for mental illness – The Associated Press
The affidavit obtained by The Washington Post was part of a search warrant that sought to seize a uniform worn by one of the six police being incriminated in the case.
Meanwhile, a separate report from The Associated Press sated that Lt Brian Rice, the highest-ranking Baltimore police among the six officers, was hospitalized on April 2012 due to mental health concerns. Rice was the first police to chase after Gray. The chase happened because Rice and Gray made eye contact.
Rice had problems about self-control and sound judgment, The Associated Press reported citing an internal document from the sheriff’s office. Baltimore police is said to be aware that Rice poses a risk to himself and to others.
According to the police document obtained by The Associated Press, Rice appeared to be “normal and soft spoken” but was seeking “sympathy and attention.” During one instance, the Baltimore police confiscated his official and personal guns that include a .40-caliber police pistol, a 9 mm handgun, an AK-47-style rifle, a .22-caliber rifle and two shotguns.
Rice declined to air his side. When The Associated Press tried to request for an interview by visiting his house, he called the sheriff’s office and complained about trespassing.
Also read: Baltimore Riot News Roundup
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