Man who died after Baltimore arrest had knife

2015-04-20 21:06
Washington - Police in Maryland say three people died on Saturday in a shooting at a mall in suburban Baltimore, including the presumed gunman.
Howard County police said via Twitter that a shooting took place at the Mall in Columbia, a suburb of bot

Washington - Police in Maryland say three people died on Saturday in a shooting at a mall in suburban Baltimore, including the presumed gunman. Howard County police said via Twitter that a shooting took place at the Mall in Columbia, a suburb of bot

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Baltimore - A man who died after his spine was nearly severed while in the custody of Baltimore police had been arrested "without force or incident," according to official documents filed in court.

The officers asked that 25-year-old Freddie Gray be charged with carrying a switchblade, punishable by a year in prison and a $500 fine, according to the court records, which were obtained Monday by The Associated Press. At the time they filed these records, Gray was already hospitalised with the injuries that would lead to his death a week later.

Gray was black; the race of the officers involved has not been disclosed. His death came amid a national debate about the deaths of black men at the hands of police.

On Monday morning, about 50 protesters gathered outside Baltimore's City Hall and later marched to police headquarters, about two blocks away. They carried signs reading "Black lives matter" and "Jobs, not police killings." They also unfurled a yellow banner reading "Stop police terror."

Police don't explain Gray's injuries the court documents obtained by the AP. One of the records says that while being taken to the station in a van, "the defendant suffered a medical emergency and was immediately transported to Shock Trauma via medic."

That appears to contradict the official police timeline, which says that nearly 45 minutes after his April 12 arrest, an ambulance was called to pick him up at the police station. By then, he was in critical condition. He died on Sunday, after a week long coma.

The documents, written and signed by Officer Garrett Miller, also misspell Gray's name as "Grey." Its details were first reported on Monday by The Baltimore Sun. Police had not previously mentioned a knife, or publicly disclosed the charge against Gray.

Miller wrote that Gray was stopped after a brief foot chase because he "fled unprovoked upon noticing police presence," and that arresting officers found the knife in his pocket.

Billy Murphy, an attorney for Gray's family, said on Sunday that "his spine was 80% severed at his neck" while in police custody. He disputed the initial police timeline, alleging that Gray was in custody for longer than they said.

"We have no confidence that the city or the police department is going to fairly and objectively investigate this case," Murphy added. "We have no confidence the investigation will reveal the truth."

Arrest video

Officers and other witnesses have been interviewed, according to Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez, but he said officers who are subjects of the criminal investigation have a right not to potentially incriminate themselves.

Police have yet to release any video of the arrest, despite requests by Murphy and by the AP for these public records.

Murphy also said he has interviewed 11 witnesses so far. State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby asked on Monday that anyone with information contact her office.

"I can assure the public that my office has dedicated all its existing resources to independently investigate this matter to determine whether criminal charges will be brought," Mosby said.

Activists protesting excessive use of force by police say they have more questions than answers about what happened to Gray.

"This is just one of the most egregious cases I've ever seen," said Colleen Davidson of the Baltimore People's Power Assembly, which she said organized Monday's rally at the request of Gray's family.

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