Baltimore Cops Could Have Saved Freddie Gray's Life, Threw Him in Police Van Instead

Alissa Kokkins
April 24, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) Baltimore, MD – After a week of protests following Baltimore police killing 25-year-old Freddie Gray, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held a press conference today where she declared:

I still want to know why none of the officers called for immediate medical assistance despite Mr. Gray’s sapient pleas.

On April 12th, Freddie Gray was arrested after he allegedly made eye contact with the police then fled. Gray was visibly injured and howling in pain before being transported as caught on video captured by people nearby. However, officers still dragged handcuffed Gray and put the injured man into a police van. Soon after, Gray went into a coma and died a week later from a spinal injury. According to the Mayor, Gray should have received medical attention before ever being put in the police van. Calling for immediate medical assistance for a person who is injured in custody is protocol for the Baltimore police department. The officers also put injured Freddie Gray in the back of the van without buckling him in; an act that also happens to be against policy, Mayor Rawlings-Blake reminded everyone at today’s conference:

The reason we have the policy around seat belts in the police vans is because of an incident that happened previously.

Dondi Johnson Sr. and Jeffrey Alston are just two previous victims of such “incidents” by Baltimore Police. In 2005, Dondi Johnson Sr. was left a paraplegic after being arrested for urinating in public. Baltimore police broke his spine by transporting him with his hands cuffed behind his back and without a safety belt. In 2004, Jeffrey Alston became paralyzed from the neck down after being arrested and transported seatbelt-less in a police van. A jury awarded Alston $39 million by a jury; Johnson Sr. received $7.4 million. However, there is no amount of money that will ever undo the damage done to both men by Baltimore police. Even more disturbing, injuries received in the back of police vans may not be unintentional according to the Baltimore Sun:

For some, such injuries have been inflicted by what is known as a “rough ride” — an “unsanctioned technique” in which police vans are driven to cause “injury or pain” to unbuckled, handcuffed detainees, former city police officer Charles J. Key testified as an expert five years ago in a lawsuit over Johnson’s subsequent death.

Prior to being put in the police van, Gray had a severe injury that is clearly visible in this newly released video of his arrest. Gray can be seen talking and breathing as officers drag him into the van. However, after being put in the police van and taken on three stops without a seatbelt, Gray was no longer able to talk or breathe when he arrived at the station.  Warning: Graphic & Triggering Content:


Despite violations from six Baltimore PD officers contributing to and possibly causing the death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts declared at the conference:

Many have called for my resignation…that’s not going to happen.

The six officers involved in killing Gray have been put on paid leave i.e. paid vacation. The reason Gray was stopped by the bike cops in the first place remains a mystery as Baltimore Police are still refusing to release that info.

Since Gray’s death, videos of his violent arrest have been wildly circulating amongst the public and protests have been swelling in Baltimore. This Saturday at 3pm, protestors will hold their largest march yet where they intend to shut down the City of Baltimore.


This article (Baltimore Cops Could Have Saved Freddie Gray’s Life, Threw Him in Police Van Instead) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and Tune in! The Anti-Media radio show airs Monday through Friday @ 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Help us fix our typos: