Justice Department opens inquiry into police treatment of Freddie Gray, who died after spinal injury
The U.S. Justice Department has opened a civil rights probe into the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who died after his spine was injured while in the custody of Baltimore police.
Six officers involved in the arrest have been suspended with pay while Baltimore also investigates Gray’s treatment, report the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun. Hundreds of protesters seeking prosecution marched Tuesday in Baltimore, the third day of demonstrations, according to this Baltimore Sun story.
A video shows police dragging Gray to a police van when he was arrested on April 12. He died in the hospital on Sunday. A witness who says she took the video, Kiona Mack, said she saw officers sitting on Gray’s back and twisting his leg, according to the Times account. Police say they don’t know whether the injury occurred during the arrest or in the van. Police also say Gray asked for an inhaler several times.
Questions are also being raised about the reason for the arrest. A police report says Gray ran after an officer made eye contact with him.
The Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services Office is already conducting a “collaborative review” of the city Police Department, according to the Baltimore Sun. The review followed Baltimore Sun articles reporting that Baltimore paid $5.7 million in judgments and settlements since 2011 in suits alleging police misconduct. The Sun found that some police officers were the subject of multiple lawsuits.