Department of Justice Opens Investigation Into Death Of Freddie Gray
Tuesday, the United States Department of Justice announced that they will be launching an investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old Baltimore man believed to have suffered fatal spine injuries while in custody of Baltimore Police.
“The Department of Justice has been monitoring the developments in Baltimore, Md., regarding the death of Freddie Gray,” spokeswoman Dena Iverson said in a statement. “Based on preliminary information, the Department of Justice has officially opened this matter and is gathering information to determine whether any prosecutable civil rights violation occurred.”
Details regarding the federal investigation have not been disclosed, but the department did say that the probe will include the FBI, the U.S. attorney’s office and DOJ civil rights attorneys. Just prior to the announcement, the six Baltimore officers who were suspended in relation to Gray’s arrest have been identified as Lt. Brian Rice, 41, Sgt. Alicia White, 41, and police officers William Porter, 25, Garrett Miller, 26, Edward Nero, 29, and Caesar Goodson, 45.
“I think folks have been crying for this,” City Councilman Nick Mosby told The Baltimore Sun.
“Lots of cases have not been brought to justice in Baltimore,” said Tessa Hill-Aston, president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP. “Families need to get justice for their loved ones.”
As previously reported, less than an hour after Gray was taken into custody, officers called for medical assistance. Gray was transferred to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center where he underwent extensive surgery and slipped into a coma. Doctors say that 80% of Gray’s spine had been severed. He died one week after the April 12 incident.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Anthony Batts have vowed to conduct a thorough investigation into Gray’s death. Rawlings-Blake has also said that she welcomes the DOJ’s probe.
“Whenever a police force conducts an internal investigation, there are always appropriate questions of transparency and impartiality,” she said. “My goal has always been to get answers to the questions so many of us are still asking with regards to Mr. Gray’s death. … This outside review will assist us in getting to the bottom of what happened to Mr. Gray in the most objective and transparent way possible.”