BALTIMORE – People are boiling mad in Baltimore. Protesters are hitting the streets, demanding answers about the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.
Cell phone video shows police loading the 25-year-old into a van, and he appears to be moving on his own. The man who shot the video does not want to be identified, but he says police were physically aggressive with Gray, even before he started recording.
“They had Freddie Gray bent up into what I’d like to call a pretzel-type of move, where they had the heels of his feet to his back, and he was still in handcuffs and they had their knee in the back of the neck.”
Another witness says Gray was screaming in pain.
“I heard the young man screaming, ‘Get off my neck! Get off my neck! You’re hurting my neck,’” said Harold Perry, “and the police said, ‘Shut the f*** up.’”
Here’s where the story gets complicated. Police say they weren’t rough with Gray before he went into the van, but 40 minutes later, an ambulance arrived on scene. Gray was apparently having trouble speaking and breathing. He fell into a coma and died of a spinal cord injury one week later.
Something obviously went wrong, and finding out what happened during those 40 minutes is crucial. Interviews with the six suspended cops can begin now; the 10-day waiting period expired on Wednesday.
“We promised to have this investigation done by May 1, so we could turn it over to the state attorney’s office,” said Baltimore Police Captain Eric Kowalczyk.
The feds are involved, too. The Department of Justice is investigating whether Gray’s civil rights were violated.
“I think having the civil rights investigation will help give confidence to the work that we’re doing around getting to the bottom of what happened,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
In the meantime, Freddie Gray’s family is waiting to take possession of his body. They plan to have a second, private autopsy done once police turn over the body.
No matter the outcome of this case, it’ll be a long time before anyone can rest in peace.