Baltimore Charges – Is It More Of The Same?

injuredSomething has been bothering me about the charges in the Freddie Gray case. I was reading The Guardian today and one commenter basically summed it up.


Frankly, this is beginning to smell.

I’m reminded of comments made to press early on by the (white) vice-commissioner (or whatever his title, #2 under Batts) to the effect that Gray was okay when put into the van, but dying when taken out. At the time I thought that was a pretty remarkable statement as it looked like he was he was throwing his cops under the bus, not something cops generally do (!).

But now we know that the three cops who falsely arrested Gray were all white. Video evidence suggests to many, including me, that he was already pretty fucked up by the time he was put in the van. Yet the most those three seem to be charged with (along with false arrest) is 2nd degree assault. I have no idea how serious that charge is, but I’m pretty sure it’s nowhere near as heavy as the manslaughter charges, which the black officers who joined this clusterf*ck after it was already in progress, have received.

Add the fact that the leaders of Mosby’s prosecutorial task force appear to be mostly or all white (standing behind her during yesterday’s charging statement to the press) and I’m beginning to suspect this is just more of the same — protect the white cops and toss the black ones under the bus.

Yes, the driver or the other two black officers he called in could and should have done more to tend to Gray’s injuries. But it beggars imagination to think that Gray could have been so tossed around in the rear of the van, however “wild” the ride, that his vertebrae and larynx were crushed. The three “supporting” black officers should have done more. But they wouldn’t have had to do ANYTHING to save Gray’s life if he hadn’t been wounded in the first instance by the three arresting officers.

I have to say that I think Freddie Gray was in very bad shape before he was ever put into that van and I couldn’t understand why that wasn’t apparent to the prosecution. I hate to say it, but it looks to me (and I could be wrong) that they had already decided to blame a rough ride on Freddie’s death and that was why Officer Goodson did not cooperate with the investigators.

Courtesy of the BBC:

Arun Ranganathan, a consultant trauma and spinal surgeon at St. Bart’s Hospital, told the BBC it is possible that Gray sustained his spinal injury during his arrest.

Mr Ranganathan said that his spinal cord could have been fractured and remained aligned, allowing Gray to maintain consciousness and move but slowly exerting a pressure on his vertebral artery.

“If there was pressure on the spinal cord then it’s possible he could have become paralysed or suffered a stroke in the van,” he said.

But it would be very unlikely to kill him, Mr Ranganathan said. “It could only kill if the injury is higher up at the base of the skull, where it could exert pressure on the respiratory systems, preventing the person being able to breathe.”

Police have said that Gray complained of trouble breathing and asked for his inhaler but was denied it.

Police have admitted that Gray was not secured in the van while it was moving, against department protocol. The revelation led many to speculate about whether he had been subjected to a so-called “nickel ride” – a police tactic of leaving a suspect unsecured in a van during an intentionally rough journey.

Citing police sources, Washington TV station WJLA said Gray died when his head violently struck a bolt inside the van. And the Washington Post reported that Gray had suffered injuries consistent with a car crash.

We know that Gray fell unconscious during the journey…

Mr Ranganathan said it was more like that Gray’s spine was injured during his arrest, and the force of being pushed in the van or thrown around inside exacerbated the injury.

“In my opinion, his spine was injured before he got in that van,” he said.

And that is what I think too.

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13 Responses to Baltimore Charges – Is It More Of The Same?

    • Moles says:

      It looked to me as though he had no control of his legs before they hauled him into the van. His legs were dragging all over the place, no motor function at all.

  1. lindak1961 says:

    Add this – all of the charged on the police force are out on bail, and their bail is less than that of Allen Bullock, one of the protesters. Apparently destroying property is worse than murder:

  2. 40Watt says:

    At about the 2.17 mark, you can clearly see the officer having to lift Freddie into the van by his belt. This needs to be seen far and wide.

    The neurosurgeon in my life has been saying from the get-go that the initial injury took place at the time of the arrest. Added to the limp legs, the fact he had to be lifted by his belt, in his opinion, says this man’s spine was already severely injured. He is appalled that it seems to be accepted that the only injury was one that took place inside the van.

    Unfortunately few people have seen this part of the video. I am so afraid it will not be seen in court.

  3. MrsGunka says:

    From what we have been witnessing around our country, we are due for a drastically needed overhaul of our police departments all over the country. There are cameras everywhere and these kind of actions will be captured anywhere. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime…..PD’s too! Big brother is always watching now. Poor people can do desperate things, but much of our white-collar crimes are much worse. Our prisons are not over-flowing with white criminals. From recent videos it is very hard to believe they are all there to serve and protect everyone….just certain ones.

  4. Margaret and Helen have a thoughtful post from last week. I hadn’t seen it.

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