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FEATURE NEWS

IN WAKE OF BALTIMORE
POLICE CHARGES
Seattle resident claims Baltimore police also gave him "rough ride" in police van

May 02, 2015




State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announcing on Friday that six officers had been charged in the death of Freddie Gray.
(BALTIMORE) -- As many in the Baltimore community cheered the charging of six police officers in the death of Freddie Gary while in police custody - and others, including the city's police union charge a rush to judgment against the six - two more people came forward Friday alleging that Baltimore police gave them "rough rides," in police vans.

They claim the purpose was to violently toss them around in the back of the transport vehicle, causing them injuries.


The Baltimore Sun reports the men, Jacob Master Jr. of Baltimore and Patrick Hoey of Seattle, were put in the back of a police van in June 2012 as the result of a noise complaint.

Attorneys for the men, at the Norman Law Firm in Dagsboro, Delaware released a statement saying that neither man was strapped into the van and that during the ride they were "violently tossed around the interior of the police van" as an officer drove "maniacally" to a police station.

The attorneys claim that as the result of the ride each man "sustained injuries."

The men came forward on the day officials announced that they would charge six officers in the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a severed spine while in policy custody April 12.

A recent review by the Baltimore Sun says at least five other people or their families have alleged they too were harmed in the back of a police van since 1997, with several winning judgments or settling with police. "Three were paralyzed by the ride," according to a report Friday by the newspaper.

THE PLUMBER

In one of those cases, a 43-year-old plumber arrested for public urination was handcuffed and put in a van "in good health but emerged a quadriplegic," says the report.

He told his doctor he was not buckled into his seat by arresting officers and after a sharp turn he was "violently thrown around the back of the vehicle as [police officers] drove in an aggressive fashion," according to a lawsuit.

The man died two weeks later of pneumonia caused by his paralysis. His family eventually won a lawsuit against the city.

The same report says a former city police officer testified five years ago in a case that resulted in a death, that rough rides were an "unsanctioned technique" in which police vans are driven to cause "injury or pain" to unbuckled, handcuffed detainees.

The newspaper said police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new allegations, but officials have in the past denied that officers drove recklessly, sometimes claiming those in custody thrashed around or were belligerent. 

THE CHARGES

The six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray April 12 were charged with criiminal charges in Gray's death, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday.

She made the announcement on the steps of the War Memorial Building and it was greeted with cheers and applause.

In a prepared speech Mosby said she told Gray's family that "no one is above the law and I would pursue justice upon their behalf."

Perhaps in a reflection of how Baltimore's citizens are conditioned to expecting that white officers will not be charged in the  mistreatment or killings of people of color, one published report said a local resident Desmond Taylor, 29, shouted out for joy saying, "I did not expect this, but I prayed for it. This day means that your actions bring consequences in Baltimore City."

All six officers were in custody in the afternoon and were undergoing the booking process. Later they made bail and were released.

The charges:


~  Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., 45. He was the driver of the police van that carried Gray through the streets of Baltimore after Gray was arrested. Goodson was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault, two vehicular manslaughter charges and misconduct in office.

~  Officer William Porter, 25. Charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

~  Lt. Brian Rice, 41. Charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

~  Sgt. Alicia White, 30. Charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

~  Officer Edward Nero, 29. Charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

~  Officer Garrett Miller, 26. Charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment.


If convicted of all charges, Goodson could face a sentence of up to 63 years in prison. Rice could face up to 30 years behind bars. Officers Porter, Nero, Miller and Sgt. White could face up to 20 years.

During her announcement Friday, prosecutor Mosby said Mr. Gray had been repeatedly denied medical attention by police officers, even as he asked for it. Later he became unresponsive in the police van. Mosby also pointed out that even the start of Mr. Gray's journey to his eventual death was not legal.

That would be his initial arrest. She said it was done without probable cause and a knife found in Mr. Gray's pocket was not an illegal switchblade, as police had previously reported, Mosby said.

Mosby told the assembled crowd that Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled and not seat-belted in the police van.

The prosecutor also called on the public to remain calm saying, "I heard your call for 'no justice, no peace. Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man."









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