Freddie Gray’s Brutal Death: How Did Baltimore Cops Break His Spine?

Protesters Clash With Baltimore Police Over Death Of Freddie Gray
Freddie Gray

AFRICANGLOBE – The protests against Baltimore Police for the callous killing of Freddie Gray is representative of the reactions people are forced to take when those in political power refuse to take action to stop the criminal behavior of cops who think —or, know —they have carte blanche to brutalize and kill Blacks with impunity.

Isn’’t Congress given tacit approval to police brutality and murder by refusing to address the issue as a national crisis?

Protests have erupted in Baltimore after 25-year-old Freddie Gray died while in police custody —after a week. Mr. Gray was apparently attacked by police, after he decided to run away from police— something that is quite understandable given the vicious brutality often being unleashed on African-Americans.

If he could run away from police, it means his back was fine. Yet he ended up dying from complications of a broken spine, after he was tackled by police then arrested.

In South Carolina, Officer Michael Slager felt he had the right to shoot down Walter Scott because he dared to run away from him.

Many people in White America would be up in arms about this, if a dog had been killed the way Mr. Scott was. But yet, even Congress—both Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the whole —are manifesting the sentiment “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” Turning a blind eye to these perverse police practices seems to be the reaction of so many “good” Americans.

Where Is The outrage?

How can any American, of good conscience, remain silent in the face of these atrocities being perpetrated by “law enforcement officers” across America— who are supposed to be maintaining “law and order?”

The Baltimore Police tell us Gray was arrested for having a pocket-knife which isn’t a crime; and something police could not have known until after his arrest even if true.

A cellphone video shows Gray being dragged and put into a police vehicle. A man who had been able to run away was no longer able to walk under his own power.

Gray was also said to be asthmatic, a factor police never seemed to have considered when they were dragging him to the police van; still, no amount of inhalers would have saved him. Reportedly, Gray suffered three broken vertebrae —and a severed spinal cord.

The police officers know what happened. Gray didn’t break his own spine.

This is a very, very tense time for Baltimore City, and I understand the community’s frustration,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. “I understand it because I’m frustrated. I’m angry that we are here again, that we have to tell another mother that her child is dead. I’m frustrated not only that we are here, but we don’t have all of the answers

What is it really going to take before our supposed “leaders” in Congress take action? What will it take for someone to say: “enough is enough”?

According to the police, Mr. Gray was “arrested without force or incident.”  What the hell does this mean? Three broken vertebrae and a severed spinal cord tell us someone use deadly “force” to take Gray’’s life away.

If Gray was uninjured before he was placed in the van, what happened afterwards?

Did they break his back after he was arrested while being transported knowing they were safe from video cameras from the public?

Did this unspeakable, gruesome and painful death happen because of a beating that was administered by police in their van? Was Gray brutalized at the station house? Or, was his body broken up by police beating him on the way to the hospital?

Several officers were suspended, as the investigation continues —including Lieutenant Brian Rice, who reportedly initiated the chase against Mr. Gray, supposedly, after Gray made “eye contact” with Rice and decided to run from the police. Black men running away from police should surprise no one given the racist police profiling practices that routinely seek to criminalize African-Americans— thereby, justifying the mass incarceration pipeline politicians have put in place to decimate the Black America’s political self-determination.

You would think the officers would think for a minute with the Slager execution of Scott still fresh on the national consciousness; obviously not in the consciousness of those officers.

Lieutenant Rice, 41, an 18-year veteran of the department; Sgt. Alicia White, 30, who joined the department in 2010; Officer William Porter, 25, who joined in 2012; Officer Edward Nero, 29, who joined in 2012; and Police Officer Caesar Goodson, 45, who joined in 1999 have all been “suspended with pay.”

Will any of these police officers paying any price for what was done to this young man? If these police officers did nothing to Mr. Gray, how do they explain his severed spinal cord? The medical documents, relating to Mr. Gray medical attention, are very important here. The medical examiner’s report—and the medical report from the hospital visit—are vital in putting pieces of this puzzle together.

Ever since the murders of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri; and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York; police body-cameras have been proposed as one way of monitoring out-of-control police. This case makes it clear cameras are also needed in all police vehicles—and in every precinct in America.

If police have nothing to hide, there is no reason for them to object to these measures.

The police tell us about an, alleged, pocket-knife they, supposedly, found in Mr. Gray’s pocket. Assuming this is even true, is that supposed to be evidence of some kind of guilt? Was Gray guilty of threatening, or, attacking anyone with said knife? If not, what is the purpose of revealing this otherwise irrelevant information?

This is similar to Tom Jackson who presided over the corrupt Ferguson Police Department disseminating the alleged video of Michael Brown grabbing a cigar from a convenient store, as if, even if true was justification for his execution-style killing by Darren Wilson.

Why did they really arrest Mr. Gray to begin with? Is a Black man running away from police really enough “probable cause” for him to be arrested legally —and then end up dead with his spinal cord broken?

Is this anything more than another horrible case illustrating the inhuman treatment far too many police inflict on African-Americans —because police know the American “justice” system devalues Black lives?

What kind of hate resides in the hearts of so-called human beings that would inflict such harm to a person.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Anthony Batts have talked about conducting a comprehensive investigation to get to the bottom of this case. That sound good. But, many of us have heard such pledges and promises in other cases of police outrage before.

According to America’s Miranda Rights law, a person has the right to remain silent if he, or, she is being targeted in a criminal matter by police. Usually, police and other law enforcement personnel, take it as a sign of someone having something to hide if that person invokes Miranda when being questioned by police. So, why do officers, who claim they have nothing to hide, remain silent for days, weeks—and in some case months —before they tell the public why they had to kill some unarmed Black man?

What is special about officers who are supposed to be public servants after all? This is outrageous and the people must no longer tolerate this double-standard.

Officer Darren Wilson waited for months before telling the tale he told about why he shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9; he was supposed afraid for his life because the “demonic” giant tossed him around like a doll. Will it take months before we hear why Mr. Gray ended up dead while in the custody of Baltimore police?

There is no doubt there is a problem in America with police who have brutal— and even murderous intentions. We have seen story after story about police violence and murder— particularly against African-Americans. Yet, the lack of political concern by Congress is astounding.

Congress’ inaction is a clear sign of the institutional racism and insensitivity that is so pervasive in America. Even though it’s a good thing that the protests against killer cops have lately included multi-racial representation, these outrages could be stopped sooner if more White Americans voiced concern for the racist treatment Black America faces from the hands of police.

Will Congress wait until peaceful protests explode into fiery violent confrontations and blood being spilled in the streets before it calls for testimony from people in the aggrieved communities and deliberations to explore starts solutions?


By: Colin Benjamin 


 The Death Of Freddie Gray And The War On Black America