Baltimore seeks answers in Freddie Gray's death in police custod - KMOV.com

Baltimore seeks answers in Freddie Gray's death in police custody

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Freddie Gray died a week after he was chased and tackled by Baltimore police, his lawyer said. Freddie Gray died a week after he was chased and tackled by Baltimore police, his lawyer said.
By Ben Brumfield CNN

(CNN) -- Freddie Gray was in perfect health until police chased and tackled him in Baltimore over a week ago, his lawyer said. Less than an hour later, he was on his way to a trauma clinic with a spinal injury, where he fell into a coma.

On Sunday he died, hours after protesters in front of Baltimore police headquarters raised signs and hands in the air and cried, "Justice for Freddie."

On Monday, police may reveal details of what happened to him when they hold a news conference.

Two witnesses hit record on their cell phones during what looked to be the 27-year-old's arrest. Police told CNN affiliate WJZ that they also have surveillance video of him.

But there appears to be a gap of some minutes left to account for.

Police encounter

When cell phones began recording, Gray was already on the ground with three officers kneeling over him. And he let out long, painful screams.

Officers had encountered him a minute earlier, on April 12, police said. They were working an area where drug deals and other crimes are common, Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said.

They thought Gray may have been involved in a crime.

But there was no evidence that he committed a crime, Gray family attorney William Murphy Jr. said, and WJZ reported late last week that police had not said what their suspicion was.

Painful wailing

When officers approached Gray, he ran. They pursued and caught him quickly, at 8:40 a.m., according to a timeline police passed on to WJZ.

The officers called for a prisoner transport van. Cell phone video taken from two separate positions showed officers lifting Gray, whose hands were cuffed, up by his shoulders and dragging him over to the back of the van.

He legs dangled behind him listlessly as he wailed.

Officers put more restraints on Gray inside the van, police said, while surveillance video recorded him conscious and talking. The video has not been released to the public.

The 30 minutes

That was at 8:54 a.m.

At 9:24 a.m., police called an ambulance to pick Gray up at the Western District police station. Murphy wants to know what happened in those 30 minutes in between.

The ambulance took Gray to the University of Maryland Medical Center's Shock Trauma Center.

"He lapsed into a coma, died, was resuscitated, stayed in a coma and on Monday underwent extensive surgery at Shock Trauma to save his life," Murphy said. "He clung to life for seven days."

Tubes, wires and supports protruded from Gray as he lay in his hospital bed in a photo Murphy passed on to the media.

Frustration and questions

Police have not released the incident report or said how many officers participated in Gray's arrest. They have been placed on administrative duty, they said.

Murphy has accused police of sitting on details of Gray's treatment by officers to cover for them.

On the evening of Gray's death, Baltimore's mayor, police commissioner and deputy commissioner promised to get to the bottom of the case.

"I understand the frustration of the community," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "I want citizens to know exactly how it happened, and if necessary, I will ensure that we hold the right people accountable."

Officers and Gray investigated

But no one promised quick answers.

Rawlings-Blake said that she wants to see a thorough inquiry and that the city will release additional details as investigations are completed.

There will be two criminal investigations, said Deputy Commissioner Rodriguez -- one to determine if the arresting officers broke the law, and one that pertains to Gray.

Police have not grilled the arresting officers on what happened for legal reasons, Rodriguez said.

"We cannot interview an officer administratively and compel them, if an officer is the subject of the criminal investigation. Every person has the right against self-incrimination, so for us to compel an officer to provide a statement, that could potentially taint the criminal investigation," he said.

Investigators will submit their results to an independent review board, he said. There will also be a separate administrative investigation.

Family declined meeting

Police officials have attempted to speak with Gray's relatives to explain the investigation process, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said.

But they have declined to meet.

"A mother has lost her son," Batts said, extending his condolences to the family.

He hopes that in interactions between police and residents, everyone goes home safely, he said. "All lives matter."

CNN's Dana Ford, Vivan Kuo and Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report.

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