On April 12th, twenty-five year-old Freddie Gray
noticed a group of police officers and decided to run the other way. Not an
unusual decision, considering how police are known to harass black people.
Freddie’s instincts were correct because the officers, noticing
him leaving the area, assumed he was doing something wrong and pursued him.
Apparently in “high crime” neighborhoods (read: black
neighborhoods) this is legal
reason enough for police to chase down people whom they have no other
reason to believe of having committed any wrong-doing.
Once they had him handcuffed, they noticed that he had a
knife clipped inside his pants pocket. In the arrest
report, they claimed the knife was a switchblade, which is illegal
to own in Maryland. This was their stated reason for arresting him.
During a press conference two weeks later, State’s Attorney
Marilyn Mosby revealed
that the police had been lying about the type of knife found in Gray’s pocket
and therefore lying about their reason for arresting him. Mosby stated that the
officers had failed to establish probable cause, making the arrest illegal.
claim the arrest occurred “without force or incident,” video of the arrest,
filmed by Kevin Moore, shows otherwise. Officers are clearly using force
against Gray, who appears to be in a great deal of pain. Gray was placed,
without a seatbelt, into the back of a police van. Although they were only
five blocks from the Western District Police Station, they drove around for
forty minutes in what is known as a “rough
ride”- deliberately reckless driving meant to jostle unseatbelted
A combination of the rough treatment he received during his
arrest, the way he was left to be tossed around in the back of the van, and
whatever other violence the officers may have inflicted upon him (which will
become clear when the autopsy is released) resulted in Mr. Gray suffering a
crushed voice box and his spine becoming 80% severed from his neck.
multiple pleas from Gray for medical attention. When they finally arrived
at the police station, after making multiple
stops, Freddie Gray was unresponsive and was not breathing. Officers still did
not immediately attend to his obvious medical emergency, seeing another man
out of the van and into the station first. When they finally called for
paramedics, they described Mr. Gray’s injuries as a
broken arm. By the time the medics arrived, Gray was in cardiac arrest,
which means his heart had stopped beating.
One week later, on April 19th, Freddie Gray died from
his injuries at University of Maryland Shock Treatment Center.