Baltimore – The autopsy of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody in April, reveals that he suffered a “high-energy injury” to his neck and spine.
The Baltimore Sun obtained a copy of the autopsy results, and reported that the state medical examiner concluded Gray’s death was a homicide, rather than an accident, “because officers failed to follow safety procedures through acts of omission.”
Gray was arrested on April 12 in Baltimore after he made eye contact with a police officer, and then stared running in the opposite direction. He received the “high-energy injury” that left his spine 80 percent detached from his neck and put him in a coma during his time in police custody. After not receiving proper medical attention, Gray died on April 19.
The medical examiner compared Gray’s injury to a person diving headfirst into shallow water and noted that while Gray was loaded into the van on his stomach, and his wrists and ankles were shackled, he was not belted in, which put him “at risk for an unsupported fall during acceleration or deceleration of the van.”
The report concludes that Gray’s death was “not an unforeseen event,” and that when a “vulnerable individual was injured during operation of the vehicle,” the injury would likely be fatal “without prompt medical attention.”
The circumstances that led up to Gray’s death resulted in protests across the country, and six Baltimore officers faced criminal charges. State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that Gray’s death had been ruled a homicide on May 1.
The “Baltimore Six” is comprised of Officer William G. Porter, Lieutenant Brian W. Rice, Officer Edward M. Nero, Officer Garrett E. Miller, Sergeant Alicia D. White and Officer Caesar R. Goodson, Jr.
Goodson, the officer who was driving the van Gray was transported in, faces the most severe charges, including misconduct in office, manslaughter by vehicle (criminal negligence), manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence), involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and second-degree depraved-heart murder.
On May 21, Mosby announced that all six of the officers have been indicted by a grand jury in Baltimore. The officers responded by pleading “not guilty” to the charges, and a trial will be held in October. The Baltimore Sun noted that the case will be presided by Judge Barry G. Williams, “a former city prosecutor and civil rights litigator with a no-nonsense reputation.”