Excessive Use of Force Lawyer: Mysterious Death After Arrest

A tragedy has struck a young man and his family in Baltimore following an arrest earlier this month. Freddie Gray  died on Sunday in shock trauma under yet to be determined circumstances.

He was arrested about a week prior for a seemingly frivolous offense: possessing a switchblade. What happened next is surreal. The young man apparently suffered an injury to his spine according to the Baltimore Sun and CBS News.   The family’s lawyer, William Murphy, Jr., a highly regarded plaintiff’s lawyer,  was quoted as stating that the young man spine was 80% severed at the neck.

The investigation into this incident has just began and information is trickling out slowly. There has been videos and other items released to the public. It is going to be a long and interesting investigation. It sounds like in addition to he video there were plenty of witnesses to the initial contact with the police and the subsequent arrest. Mr. Murphy stated that he had interviewed at least 11 witness. The police were doing their parallel investigation as well. Unfortunately, so far there is no information about what happened after the young man was taken into custody and into the lead up to the time he was taken to shock trauma.

As the investigations get under way, the public and government officials are weighing in. Colleen Davidson of the Baltimore People’s Power Assembly,was quoted as saying that, “This is just one of the most egregious cases I’ve ever seen.” Speaking of prior misconduct, the Baltimore Sun 2014 story dealt with issues against what it termed as repeat offenders. Officers who have been accused of excessive use of force more than once resulting in payments to victims. 

The Mayor of the City of Baltimore, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, was quoted by CNN as stating that, “This is a very, very tense time for Baltimore City, and I understand the community’s frustration. I understand it because I’m frustrated. I’m angry that we are here again.”

Finally, while each case is different, the notion that another young man is dead for a seemingly minor infraction should be a awake up call to all of us. We have to hesitate the temptation to paint with broad strokes all of the victims. Similarly, we cannot condemn all the good men and women in law enforcement. Separating the bad actors may not be an easy task, but it has to be done. Hopefully, there is justice for Mr. Gray’s family and that this investigation prevents another tragedy in the future.