We now know that Freddie Gray's apparent fatal spine injury was not the first delivered at the hands of a Baltimore police officer.
Ten years earlier, 42-year-old Dondi Johnson was arrested for urinating in public and placed inside a police van much like the van used to transport Freddie Gray. Dondi Johnson subsequently suffered a serious spinal injury and died two weeks later.
In 1997, Jeffrey Adrian Alston, suffered a broken neck during an encounter with the Baltimore police department which left him a quadriplegic.
In 2004, a civil jury found that the Baltimore officers caused Alston's injuries. Alston received a $6 million settlement; he died seven months later from complications related to his injury. Jeffrey Alston was 40. The officers were never charged administratively or criminally for their actions. There was zero accountability.
Currently, it would appear that the Baltimore police department is attempting to minimize and mitigate culpability in the death of Freddie Gray.
According to the Baltimore Sun, a Statement of Charges was filed on April 12, 2015 which alleged that Gray possessed a switch blade. The charging statement read in part, that Gray "fled unprovoked upon noticing police presence. The defendant was apprehended..." Officer G. Miller "... noticed a knife clipped to the inside of his front right pants pocket..."
According to Baltimore police union attorney Michael Davey , [the] "officers had every right to chase Gray. There is a Supreme Court case that states that if you are in a high-crime area, and you flee from the police unprovoked, the police have the legal ability to pursue you, and that's what they did," he said. "In this type of an incident, you do not need probable cause to arrest. You just need a reasonable suspicion to make the stop."
So to Davey's point, any black man who happens to "live" in a "high crime" area, steps outside of his home and takes off running should expect to have his spine severed?
I am waiting to hear from Baltimore authorities, "based on a reasonable suspicion of involvement in a punishable crime" the rationale from a lieutenant of police, a sergeant of police or any one of the four patrol officers involved in Freddie Gray's detention "articulable facts that criminal activity was afoot" per Terry v. Ohio.
Officers are required to articulate specific facts to a specific individual; "reasonable suspicion." Please articulate the specific crime that Gray was reasonably suspected of committing before he ran. Just for the record, Baltimore, black in public is not a crime.
By the way, I'm not buying the story alleged in the charging statement by Officer Miller that he somehow knew Gray had a knife clipped to the inside of his pants pocket when initially he chased him.
Gray was subsequently arrested after police found what they said was a switch blade on him. An attorney for Gray's family has said the knife was a pocket knife of legal size; a ruler will solve this argument.
This seems to be akin to the carnival game of bobbing for apples; police spot a black man on the street in a high crime area; make eye contact; wait for him to run and they "pray to the gods" that he has a knife, an arrest warrant or that he "resists" -- poof! You just grabbed yourself an apple, officer!
The excessive force used as well as the now infamous Baltimore "Rough Ride" has little to do with restraining combative suspects, apprehending fleeing felons as in the cases of Walter Scott and Eric Harris and everything to do with punishment.
You don't have to take my word; listen to one of the deputies in Tulsa as he explained to Eric Harris exactly why he was being pummeled and subsequently shot by pay-to-play Deputy Robert Bates, "you f*cking ran."
Every now and then they tell the truth.
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