Freddie Gray: Baltimore Protests over Police Custody Death
Baltimore protests have increased day by day since April 21 after last week’s death of Freddie Gray in police custody.
Freddie Gray, 25, died a week after being chased and arrested from a fatal spine injury under unexplained circumstances.
The US Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation.
A thousand people gathered on April 21 at the site of Freddie Gray’s arrest, kicking off seven days of protests against what they believe is excessive police force.
As people raised their hands, Pastor Jamal Bryant, one of the demonstrations organizers, said the gesture was not an act of surrender.
“It’s a sign of strength, of one unity and one commitment that we will not rest until we get justice for Freddie Gray,” he said.
Freddie Gray was arrested on April 12. Officials said that he ran away after he “made eye contact” with officers on patrol.
Officers pursued him and took him into custody minutes later. The officers’ reasoning for detaining Freddie Gray is not clear.
“There is no law against running,” Police Commissioner Anthony Batts told reporters on April 20.
“Running while black is not probable cause,” Billy Murphy, a lawyer hired by Freddie Gray’s family, said.
Mobile phone video shows police pinning Freddie Gray to the ground before a detention van arrives to transport him to a police station.
In the video, officers are seen dragging Gray’s limp body into the van. It is not known whether Freddie Gray’s body was limp because of a deliberate act of defiance or because of a medical condition.
Freddie Gray was in the van for approximately 30 minutes. At one point, police stopped to put Gray into leg shackles after determining he had become irate.
He asked officers for medical care on multiple occasions, Anthony Batts said.
Freddie Gray was eventually rushed to hospital where he lapsed into a coma and died a week later.
A national debate over the use of police force has been going on since August 2014, when black teenager Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri.