On Sunday, Freddie Grey died of spinal cord related injuries to the neck area. Grey had been chased down by four police officers on bicycles for an undisclosed violation, cuffed (hands and feet) and lifted into the back of a police van. Thirty minutes later when arriving at the police station, he was in severe pain and having difficulty breathing and ambulating. He was taken to a nearby hospital where his spinal cord injury was diagnosed.
Grey lived seven days before succumbing to death from spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord conducts messages from the brain to the remainder of the body, telling the body to move and organs to function. The spinal cord cannot regenerate itself as soft tissue can and surgeons were ultimately unable to save Grey from the injuries incurred on the day of his arrest.
Baltimore City residents are now being joined by protesters from nearby cities, including a group from New York all sporting black hoodies. Pratt Street, the main artery that runs from Camden Yards to the other side of the Inner Harbor area has had an increasing number of protesters congregating in the street. Last night rush hour was severely disrupted, traffic stopped, and a number of residents in the area were kept from getting to their homes. Two officers were assaulted and debris was thrown at police.

Police Commissioner Anthony Blatt and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake promise a specialized "blue ribbon" panel to investigate the cause of the deadly injury to Grey because available footage does not show the actual cause of injury. It is possible that Grey sustained blunt force to the neck area either before or during his ride in the police van, where he was cuffed but not buckled in. Unfortunately, there have been several other "rough rides" in Baltimore police vans that have caused similar injuries in the past.
What is known is that police officers in downtown Baltimore have been told to stand down, avoid arrests, and not defend themselves should trouble ensue. In a violent city where hundreds of arrests are made each week, only eleven have been made this week as the police take a break in crime fighting to allow the populace to hopefully calm down. In the meantime, police officers are still standing guard, keeping students at inner-city schools from brawling in the cafeteria and patrolling high crime areas where they are being spit on and threatened. I wonder how many more violent crimes must take place before the residents decide that the police, although far from ideal, may be better to have than not to have in their communities.
There is one major difference in the actors of this particular Baltimore case vs. the leadership in Ferguson–that is, in Baltimore, both the Police Commissioner and Mayor are African American. Perhaps that is a major factor in the protests remaining mostly peaceful thus far. However, having black leadership in the police community only allows a negligible margin of additional error as local residents distrust police in general, despite their racial status.
As the week unfolded, rumors began to circulate about Grey being shot with his hands up when we know for sure that there was no weapon used on either side. Any truth in favor of the six police officers involved in Grey’s death will no doubt fall on some deaf ears because protestors are comparing Grey to Brown, despite the fact that there was no use of weapon or shots fired.
An interesting yet somewhat ignored detail in this case is the fact that Grey was asthmatic and could have injured his neck in the back of the van from thrashing after being denied an inhaler at the police station. Either way, Grey’s case is a tragedy that involves six officers and potentially fatal police negligence.
0 0 votes
Article Rating