Cops: We Should've Gotten Freddie Gray Help Faster

6 cops on leave in Baltimore amid investigation
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2015 7:51 AM CDT
Cops: We Should've Gotten Freddie Gray Help Faster
Citizens and groups such as the Justice League of NYC protest following the death of Freddie Gray, Sunday, April 19, 2015, in Baltimore.   (Algerina Perna/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Baltimore police have suspended six officers with pay as part of a probe into the death of Freddie Gray, who a lawyer claims had his spinal cord severed in police custody. At a press conference yesterday, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she was "frustrated" by a lack of information, but she called for calm amid continued protests. Police, meanwhile, said they were still unsure how or when Gray was injured, the New York Times reports. Commissioner Anthony Batts admitted officers were slow to realize Gray needed medical attention; he reportedly asked for an asthma inhaler but wasn't carrying one. "We should have probably asked for paramedics" sooner, he said. But though Gray suffered "a very tragic injury to his spinal cord," Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez added, "we have no evidence—physical, video, or statements—of any use of force." An autopsy found no other wounds.

Batts said the police department has already made changes to its policies regarding the transport of suspects and the treatment of those requiring medical attention in custody. He added that the results of the investigation, which should be completed May 1, would be passed to the state's attorney for Baltimore, who says she will "independently investigate this matter to determine whether criminal charges will be brought." Police documents say Gray, who was previously arrested on drug charges, was taken into custody "without force or incident" for carrying a switchblade after he made eye contact with an officer on April 12, then ran away. "There is no law against running," Batts said, per the Baltimore Sun. He was loaded into a police van, which stopped twice before arriving at the Western District station, where an ambulance was called. Gray was placed in leg shackles during one stop as the driver said he was "acting irate." The van also picked up another suspect, who was separated from Gray by a metal barrier. (More Baltimore stories.)

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