Protesters promise biggest Freddie Gray rally to come
Baltimore — In the clearest acknowledgment of failure yet, Baltimore police said Friday that Freddie Gray should have received medical attention at the spot where he was arrested — before he was put inside a police van.
Officers missed "multiple" opportunities to give him medical attention and once inside the van, Gray should've been buckled into a seat belt. The department's acknowledgment came at a news conference after a week of intense scrutiny and near-daily demonstrations over what protesters say is police mistreatment of blacks in Baltimore and throughout the country.
Gray was taken into custody April 12 and at some point — either during his arrest or inside the van — he suffered a mysterious spinal injury. Authorities have not explained how or when it occurred. Six officers have been suspended with pay.
Protesters promised their biggest march Saturday, when they would try to "shut down" the city.
Commissioner Anthony Batts said it was possible Gray was injured before the van ride, but also possible he suffered in a "rough ride," where officers hit the brakes and take sharp turns to injure suspects.
"We know he was not buckled in the transportation wagon as he should have been. There's no excuse for that, period," Batts said. "We know our police employees failed to give him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times."
Batts said the investigation is being refined and the picture is getting "sharper and sharper." As for some calls for his resignation, Batts said: "That's not going to happen."
Gray, who is black, was arrested after he made eye contact with officers and ran away, police said. Officers held him down, handcuffed him and loaded him into a police van. While inside, he became irate and leg cuffs were put on him, police have said.
Deputy police commissioner Kevin Davis said Friday that Gray should have received medical attention at the spot of his arrest. Bystander video shows Gray screaming as officers carried him to the van, his legs appearing limp.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake thanked protesters for being peaceful so far. She expects the results of the investigation to be turned over to prosecutors in a week. Asked if Gray's possible "rough ride" is a one-off, the mayor said: "It's clearly not a one-off."
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