Six Baltimore cops suspended after detained man dies from broken neck

By Ed Adamczyk and Danielle Haynes   |   Updated April 20, 2015 at 9:40 PM

BALTIMORE, April 20 (UPI) -- Six Baltimore police officers were suspended Monday after a man whose neck was broken while in custody died.

Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested after he ran from police.

William Murphy, a lawyer for Gray's family, said Gray's spine was 80 percent severed at the neck while in police custody.

He added Gray was healthy before his arrest "without any evidence he had committed a crime," and that "his take-down and arrest without probable cause occurred under a police video camera, which taped everything including the police dragging and throwing Freddy into a police vehicle while he screamed in pain."

Gray died Sunday, one week after his arrest, at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Police have not specified the reason for his arrest or offered a cause for his injuries, citing an ongoing investigation.

The incident provoked demonstrations at a police station by about 100 people over two days, demanding to know the details of Gray's arrest and death.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake promised a response Sunday, saying, "How was Mr. Gray injured? Were our proper protocols and procedures actually followed? What are the next steps? Right now, we're still collecting details surrounding the incident, but I want our residents to know that we will get the answers."

Police will organize a task force to investigate, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said. The six officers involved in the incident were suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

Batts said the results of the investigation would be submitted to the state attorney for Baltimore, Marilyn J. Mosby, for possible prosecution.

A timeline of events, prepared by police, indicated Gray was stopped on the morning of April 12 by four bicycle officers for an undisclosed offense, and that Gray ran from them. He was caught and restrained, and conscious when he was put into a police van.

Medics were called after the van reached the nearby police station, and Gray was hospitalized immediately thereafter.

"We have no evidence -- physical, video or statements -- of any use of force, and all of the officers insist that none was used," the deputy police commissioner, Jerry Rodriguez, said at a news conference. "He did suffer a very tragic injury to his spinal cord, which resulted in his death. What we don't know, and what we need to get to, is how that injury occurred."

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