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Police: We failed to get Baltimore man who died in police custody timely medical care

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(CNN) — Freddie Gray did not get timely medical care after he was arrested and was not buckled into a seat belt while being transported in a police van, Baltimore police said Friday.

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts told reporters there are no excuses for the fact that Gray was not buckled in as he was transported to a police station.

Five days after Gray’s death and amid ongoing protests, police officials acknowledged mistakes were made during and after his arrest.

Gray, who was stopped April 12 after a foot pursuit through several housing complexes, should have received medical attention at the scene of his arrest, said Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. A witness said the man was yelling and indicated he was having difficulty breathing.

Batts told reporters in an afternoon news conference: “We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.”

Investigators are trying to learn more about Gray’s condition at each of the three stops the van made on its way to a police station.

At the first stop, Gray was placed in leg irons. The driver stopped a second time “to deal with Mr. Gray and the facts of that interaction are under investigation,” Davis said. The van stopped one more time to add a second prisoner.

Batts told reporters that at the third stop an officer saw Gray on the floor of the van, asking for a medic. The officer and the van driver picked him up and put him on the seat, the commissioner said.

When the van arrived at the Western District station, police called for an ambulance, said Davis, who is in charge of the investigation.

An attorney for the Gray family said it was positive news, but there is a more important issue.

“It’s certainly a step towards acknowledging the truth that the police did not follow their own internal regulations,” Jason Downs told CNN. “What it does not get at is, it does not get at the core of this case and that is why did Mr. Gray need medical attention in the first place? … That’s the question that still has not been answered.”

The developments came two days after a police union attorney spoke of the possibility that the injuries occurred during a “rough ride,” a frequently claimed practice in which police vehicles are deliberately driven in a way that injures suspects.

At least two suspects have won court cases against the city after being left paralyzed in such rides over the last decade or so, The Baltimore Sun reported Thursday.

Gray died Sunday, one week after Baltimore police arrested him.

At some point, he suffered a severe spinal cord injury. His family said his voice box was crushed and his neck snapped before he slipped into a coma and died.

Batts said he had been given preliminary results of an autopsy on Gray. The medical examiner’s full autopsy may take another 30 to 45 days, Batts said, because toxicology tests still need to be examined and spinal experts may be brought in to assess Gray’s injury.

Meanwhile, anger over the incident and the police response to it continued to grow ahead of a major rally that organizers vowed would “shut this city down on Saturday.”

“The people are demanding immediate arrests, immediate end to the protracted investigation, and immediate end to the stonewalling,” said Malik Shabazz, president of Black Lawyers for Justice.

But he and other officials vowed the protests would be peaceful — much as they were Thursday night, despite a few scuffles and two detentions.

‘They demand answers and so do I’

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake thanked those protesters who have demonstrated peacefully.

“Our community is very clear. They demand answers and so do I,” she said.

The mayor said that will take some time, but she had concerns about what happened to Gray.

“I still want to know why the policies and procedures for transport were not followed,” Rawlings-Blake said. “I realize there is frustration over this investigation, but I want to be clear: there is a process, but we have to respect that process.”

Batts addressed calls for his resignation after Gray’s death by saying he would not step down.

 

 

 

 

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11 comments

    • SHAFT

      ALL LIVES MATTER…… TAKE THE FIRST STEP AND START IT OFF , IT WON’T GET ATTENTION IF YOUR NOT IN THE PUBLIC LETTING IT BE KNOWN , ……. SO WHAT TIME TOMORROW YOU GONNA BE AT YOUR LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT OR MAYORS OFFICE,?

  • Bunny Hoy

    The MEDIA FINALLY WAKE UP !!!!!!! LOCAL POLICE ARE CORRUPT ALL ACROSS AMERICA. Police from town to town across America do whatever they want — and get their “story straight” —
    corruption of local police hurts ALL race color creed. It destroys our legal protections and legal rights .

    • Jeff

      You people are nuts. The only tragedy here is this bolsters nut jobs like you all commenting here. You don’t runs and fight from the police, you don’t get hurt. It’s pretty simple. Guess how many interactions i have had with cops in the past 10 years? ZERO. Guess what? You don’t break the law , you don’t have to deal with them. The reason we have such high crime now a days is because of idiot hippies and those “time out” parents. You all are spoiled brats. Get a life. Ask yourself what this guys did and why he was running from the cops. Oh he was just an innocent man in your stupid eyes.

  • Keith W Henline

    Do you think we are blind! He was not injured in the van, idots, look at his feet as you drag him?? He went from perfectly healthy guy running to spinal injury “BEFORE” you picked him up, so what did you do to him? Maybe a nightstick to the spinal cord somewhere???

    • Mack Million

      Actually if you do your research you’ll find that in this year alone with exception of a guy in Sanberdino California more than thirteen Black males including a child has been killed by Police Officer! Police are corrupt and that’s the bottom line!

  • Capten George

    It’s getting old to hear about the BLACKS all the time. Thats all there is in the news! If a white person is miss treated it’s never herd of. It’s just like they say. The squeaky wheele gets the grease. IT’S TIME WE TAKE THIS COUNTRY BACK FROM THE BACKS!!!!

  • Roger Meneses

    “Freddie Gray did not get timely medical care after he was arrested and was not buckled into a seat belt while being transported in a police van.”

    They murder somebody and this is the best excuse they could come up with??!!

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