An autopsy report obtained by the Baltimore Sun indicates that Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who died in police custody in April, suffered from a “high-energy injury” to his neck and spine.
Gray, whose death sparked weeks of protests in Baltimore, was unsecured when placed in a police van with shackled feet and hands. The deadly injury was likely sustained when the van suddenly decelerated, the Sun writes. Because Gray was not properly secured, the state medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide, stating the officers failed to follow safety rules “through acts of omission,” the Sun reports.
This is the first time details of the autopsy report have been revealed — the report was completed April 30, but the release was delayed. A day later, State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced she would bring criminal charges against the six officers involved in the unlawful arrest. And just this week, a judge set a trial date for officers, all of whom pleaded not guilty.
Via the Sun:
In a statement, Mosby denounced the release of the report. She has sought a protective order to keep evidence in the case out of public view. “I strongly condemn anyone with access to trial evidence who has leaked information prior to the resolution of this case,” Mosby said.
Baltimore police union president Lt. Gene Ryan said details in the autopsy raise questions about the charges, demonstrating why the union didn’t want prosecutors to “rush to a decision.”
But with the release of the autopsy by a verified source “who requested anonymity,” the Sun writes, the extent of Gray’s graphic injuries are now public.
Though Gray was loaded into the van on his belly, the medical examiner surmised that he may have gotten to his feet and was thrown into the wall during an abrupt change in direction. He was not belted in, but his wrists and ankles were shackled, putting him “at risk for an unsupported fall during acceleration or deceleration of the van.”
The medical examiner compared Gray’s injury to those seen in shallow-water diving incidents.
The injury to Gray’s spinal cord would have caused loss of function of his limbs, and would have “direct effects” on his ability to breathe, according to the autopsy.
The officers involved in Gray’s death — Sgt. Alicia D. White, Officer William F. Porter, Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Lt. Brian W. Rice, Edward M. Nero and Garrett E. Miller — are expected to face trial in October. Goodson, who was the driver of the van, is the only officer to be charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder.
SOURCE: Baltimore Sun | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty
Roland Martin, Legal Columnist/Analyst Yodit Tewolde and the NewsOne Now panel discuss what the medical examiners ruling means for the case against the six Baltimore police officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death.
Be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.
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