bureaucracybusters

WHEN COPS ARE LAWBREAKERS: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on December 17, 2015 at 12:43 am

Leave out his name for a moment.  Then consider the following:

His biography includes at least 18 arrests:

  • July 16, 2007: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance (2 counts)
  • August 23, 2007: False statement to a peace officer, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance
  • August 28, 2007: Possession of marijuana
  • August 29, 2007: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, violation of probation
  • February 11, 2008: Unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance
  • March 14, 2008: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to manufacture and distribute
  • March 28, 2008: Unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance
  • July 16, 2008: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession with intent to distribute
  • April 13, 2012: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, violation of probation
  • September 28, 2013: Distribution of narcotics, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, second-degree assault, second-degree escape
  • January 25, 2014: Possession of marijuana
  • August 31, 2014: Illegal gambling, trespassing
  • December 14, 2014: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance
  • December 31, 2014: Possession of narcotics with intent to distribute
  • January 14, 2015: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute
  • January 20, 2015: Fourth-degree burglary, trespassing
  • March 13, 2015: Malicious destruction of property, second-degree assault
  • March 20, 2015: Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance

His criminal record was one of drug charges and minor crimes.  He was involved in 20 criminal court cases–five were still active at the time of his death.

In February 2009, he was sentenced to four years in prison for two counts of drug possession with intent to deliver and was paroled in 2011–after serving only two.

In 2012, he was arrested for violating parole but was not sent back to prison.

In 2013, he returned to prison for a month before being released again.

He was due in court on a drug possession charge on April 24.

Who was he?

He was Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who spent seven days in a coma after he suffered injuries while in the custody of Baltimore police.

Click here: Freddie Gray Arrest Record, Criminal History & Rap Sheet

Freddie Gray

His last arrest came on April 12.

While being transported in a police van to the police station, Gray fell into a coma and was taken to a trauma center.  He died on April 19, owing to a broken neck.

On April 21, the six Baltimore police officers involved in his arrest were temporarily suspended with pay while an investigation occurred.

According to the police account of Gray’s arrest:

On April 12, at 8:39 A.M. Lieutenant Brian W. Rice, Officer Edward Nero, and Officer Garrett E. Miller were patrolling on bicycles and “made eye contact” with Gray.

According to Miller, Gray, “unprovoked upon noticing police presence,” fled on foot.

After a brief foot chase, he was caught and arrested “without the use of force or incident,” according to  Miller.

Miller further wrote that:

  • He “noticed a knife clipped to the inside of his [Gray’s] front right pocket”; and
  • Gray “did unlawfully carry, possess, and sell a knife commonly known as a switch blade knife, with an automatic spring or other device for opening and/or closing the blade within the limits of Baltimore City. The knife was recovered by this officer and found to be a spring assisted one hand operated knife.”

A witness to Gray’s arrest have since stated that the police were “folding” Gray.  That is: One officer was bending Gray’s legs backwards, while another was pressing a knee into Gray’s neck.

A second witness claimed to have seen Gray being beaten with police batons.

On April 24, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said, “We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.”

He also admitted that his officers had failed to buckle Gray in the van–standard police procedure–before he was transported to the police station.

News reports have raised the possibility that Gray was treated to a “rough ride”–where a handcuffed prisoner is placed without a seatbelt in a vehicle deliberately driven over rough roads at high speed as an unofficial punishment.

Inside a typical police van

And Gray had clearly had enough run-ins with the law to be known to police as a habitual criminal.

In fact, medical examiners reported Gray sustained more injuries by slamming around inside the van, “apparently breaking his neck; a head injury he sustained matches a bolt in the back of the van.”

But even worse findings were to come for the officers involved.

On May 2, the Baltimore Sun broke the story that, of the six policemen involved with Gray’s arrest, Brian Rice—the highest ranking officer—had seven guns confiscated by sheriff’s deputies in April, 2012.

He had also been temporarily removed from duty–over concerns about his mental health.

Click here: Lieutenant Brian Rice charged in Freddie Gray death had weapons seized in 2012 – Baltimore Sun

But that was merely embarrassing.  What happened on May 1 was life-changing.

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