There were a few scuffles with Baltimore police and at least two people were arrested during another night of protests over the death of Freddie Gray.
Tensions rose as demonstrators confronted police, several of whom shouted: “Back up!”
The Baltimore Police Department said the two were detained for disorderly conduct and destruction of property. There were no further arrests and Thursday evenings protests — on the whole — were peaceful.
Protesters rallied at City Hall before marching to a police station. Some walked through traffic. At one point, they surrounded a police car.
Gray arrested, dies
Gray died Sunday, one week after he was arrested by Baltimore police.
At some point, he suffered a severe spinal cord injury. His family said his voice box was crushed and his neck snapped before he slipped into a coma and died.
“The police have a lot of questions that need to be answered,” Andrew O’Connell, an attorney for the Gray family, told CNN. “What was the reasonable suspicion? Why were they arresting our client? These are pretty big questions that need to be answered.”
“He had no weapon in his hand. He was committing no crime, and he wasn’t hurting anybody. The police had no reasonable suspicion to stop or arrest him,” the attorney said.
While Baltimore police say five of the six officers involved in the arrest have provided statements to investigators, the department has not released details of what the officers said or how Gray might have suffered the fatal injury.
Thursday’s events follow a series of demonstrations this week, with protesters demanding elusive answers.
Among the questions: Did something happen inside the police transport vehicle that caused Gray’s fatal spinal injury? And what took place in the 30 minutes before police called paramedics to pick Gray up?
“Our position is something happened in that van,” police union attorney Michael Davey said. “We just don’t know what.”
But one question has already been addressed: Did officers have the right to chase Gray in the first place?
Police first encountered Gray on April 12 as they patrolled an area known for crime and drug activity. When Gray saw them, authorities said, he started running.
Gray’s family attorney and protesters claim police didn’t have any probable cause to chase him, but did so only because he was “running while black.”
But Davey said officers had every right to give chase.
“There is a Supreme Court case that states that if you are in a high-crime area, and you flee from the police unprovoked, the police have the legal ability to pursue you, and that’s what they did,” he said.
“In this type of an incident, you do not need probable cause to arrest. You just need a reasonable suspicion to make the stop.”
Gray was arrested after police found what they said was a switchblade on him. An attorney for Gray’s family has said the knife was a pocket knife of legal size.
Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said he met Thursday with the family.
“There was a lot of pain in that family, and I can understand it. If that was my son that ended up the same way, I would be angry,” he told CNN.
‘His leg look broke!’
One video of Gray’s arrest shows officers dragging him to a police van, his legs dangling limply behind him.
“His leg look broke!” a bystander yells as a witness captures the arrest on a cell phone video.
That witness, who only wants to be identified as Kiona, said she knew Gray as a joker and a ladies’ man. But that day, he said only one thing to her.
“When I ran up the street and seen him, the first thing I asked him was he OK because I heard him screaming,” Kiona said. “He didn’t never say yes or no, he just said ‘I can’t breathe’ and just was yelling.”
‘Person in distress’
Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm said he was disturbed by video of the arrest.
“What I see is a person in distress, and what should have happened is at that point, they should have called for medical attention to help him out,” he told CNN’s “New Day.”
Hamm led the department from 2004 to 2007. He said he was surprised and disappointed by what has happened.
“I thought we were better than that,” he said. “I thought we were better trained than that.”
It’s not clear whether Gray was injured during the arrest. His family has not yet seen the autopsy report, attorney William Murphy said.
The medical examiner’s office told CNN it could take up to 90 days to release the report, which is customary.
Gray’s body is now in his family’s care. It has been transported to an unnamed funeral home, which will be disclosed when arrangements have been finalized. Mary Koch, a member of the family’s legal team, told CNN that an independent autopsy will be conducted at the facility.
Police, Justice Department investigate case
The police department is investigating what happened and will turn over its finding to the state attorney’s office in a week, the department said.
“As with any criminal investigation, detectives will continue to pursue the evidence wherever it leads, for as long as it takes.”
The Justice Department is investigating whether Gray’s civil rights were violated during the April 12 arrest.
And Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she “absolutely” believes an outside investigation is needed, especially given the city’s dark history of police misconduct.
According to The Baltimore Sun, the city has paid about $5.7 million over the past four years to settle more than 100 cases of allegations of police wrongdoing.
Police didn’t admit fault in any of the cases. The police union said in a statement Wednesday that the reason for the settlements was simple: City officials believe lawsuits are too costly.