US of­fi­cers suspended af­ter black cus­tody death

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Sev­eral Bal­ti­more po­lice of­fi­cers have been suspended af­ter an African Amer­i­can man died of spinal cord in­juries in po­lice cus­tody, po­lice said Mon­day, pledg­ing to thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gate the in­ci­dent.

Fred­die Gray, 25, who died Sun­day, was ar­rested on April 12 with­out force and was later charged with pos­ses­sion of a switch­blade knife, ac­cord­ing to a po­lice re­port.

Po­lice vowed to look into how Gray died and said they would set up an in­de­pen­dent re­view board to as­sess the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, due to be com­pleted next Fri­day.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is fo­cus­ing on how Gray died af­ter an au­topsy con­firmed spinal in­juries.

“None of his limbs were bro­ken. He did suf­fer a very tragic in­jury to his spinal cord, which re­sulted in his death,” said deputy po­lice com­mis­sioner Jerry Ro­driguez, adding that the of­fi­cers were suspended.

“What we don’t know, and what we need to get to, is how that in­jury oc­curred.”

Lo­cal NBC tele­vi­sion af­fil­i­ate WBAL re­ported six of­fi­cers had been suspended.

A video of the ar­rest shows po­lice re­strain­ing Gray on a side­walk, then drag­ging him to a po­lice van while he yells in pain.

Ro­driguez said Gray had re­quested an in­haler af­ter he was ar­rested and that he be­came “irate” while sit­ting in a po­lice van.

Paramedics were called 42 min­utes af­ter Gray asked for his in­haler, ac­cord­ing to a timeline pro­vided by po­lice.

Po­lice con­firmed that Gray had re­quested med­i­cal at­ten­tion, but would not say when.

The case is the lat­est in a se­ries of deaths that crit­ics say demon­strates of­fi­cers’ racial bias and ex­ces­sive use of force.

The in­ci­dent sparked protests in Bal­ti­more, with about 100 lo­cal res­i­dents and ac­tivists gath­ered out­side a lo­cal po­lice sta­tion Sun­day de­mand­ing more in­for­ma­tion.

Bal­ti­more Po­lice Com­mis­sioner An­thony Batts said poli­cies re­gard­ing trans­porta­tion of sus­pects and pro­vid­ing med­i­cal at­ten­tion were be­ing re­viewed fol­low­ing Gray’s death.

He said the of­fi­cers did not ap­pear to use un­nec­es­sary force dur­ing Gray’s ar­rest, but said they would con­tinue to in­ves­ti­gate their con­duct.

“If we find a pro­ce­dure or a process han­dled in­cor­rectly, we’ll hold peo­ple accountable for that,” Batts told re­porters.

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