Official autopsy reports released by Maryland’s medical examiner to the Baltimore Sun reveal that Freddie Grey died from a single “high-energy injury” to the lower left side of his head, likely when the police van he was riding in stopped short and made him fall.
Grey, 25, died after sustaining mysterious injuries, at some point, while in custody after he was arrested by Baltimore police.
Baltimore police arrested Freddie Grey “without force or incident” on April 12 for alleged possession of a switchblade knife, according to charging documents written by officer Garrett Miller and cited by the Baltimore Sun. During transport, Grey suffered a “medical emergency,” Miller wrote. That incident severed Grey’s spine 80% at his neck, according to a statement from his family attorney, William “Billy” Murphy, Jr.
The autopsy states that Grey was loaded into the police van face-down. He was handcuffed with his legs shackled, which would have made him “at risk for an unsupported fall during acceleration or deceleration of the van” were he to have been standing at some point during the ride, according to the autopsy.
The medical examiner writes that Grey’s spinal cord injury possibly occurred “with him in a partially reclining position or as he was changing his position on the floor of the van,” after he fell — if the van moved abruptly enough.
“The state medical examiner’s office concluded that Grey’s death fit the medical and legal definition of an accident, but ruled it to be a homicide because officers failed to follow safety procedures ‘through acts of omission,'” the Sun reported.
Baltimore’s chief prosecutor, Marilyn J. Mosby, charged the six officers allegedly involved in Grey’s death: Lt. Brian Rice, Sgt. Alicia White, Officer William Porter, Officer Garrett Miller, Officer Edward Nero and Officer Caesar Goodson. Goodson, who drove the van, was charged with second-degree murder.
The full autopsy, which was completed on April 30, has not yet been made public, according to the Sun.
Protests surrounding Grey’s death quickly descended into chaos in late April, with the situation growing so violent that the governor of Maryland declared Baltimore to be in a state of emergency and called in the National Guard.
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