Baltimore’s uneasy peace: Freddie Gray protests spread

Frustrated by what they consider an unsatisfying trickle of answers, those angry over the death of Freddie Gray plan protests from coast to coast Friday.

At least four rallies or marches are planned in Baltimore alone, with other demonstrations scheduled in Chicago, New York, Seattle, Dallas, San Francisco and Oakland, California.

The mother of Trayvon Martin, the African-American youth killed in 2012 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, plans to attend one of the Baltimore rallies, the Rev. Jamal Bryant of Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple said in a tweet.

Authorities pleaded for patience Thursday after police said they’d finished their investigation but wouldn’t publicly release their findings. Police turned their files over to prosecutors.

“We ask for the public to remain patient and peaceful and to trust the process of the justice system,” Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Thursday.

For the most part, that patience held Thursday night. Marches were peaceful in Baltimore, although police in Philadelphia clashed with protesters as officers tried to prevent them from blocking a highway.

Police statement raises more questions

While the police investigation is complete, Mosby’s office said her office will conduct its own inquiry.

“We are not relying solely on their findings but rather the facts that we have gathered and verified,” she said.

On Friday, the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner handed over the autopsy report to Mosby’s office, a source in the office told CNN. The report’s findings have not been made public.

In the meantime, the mystery of how the 25-year-old died has only grown more complex.

Police revealed Thursday a transport van carrying Gray made an additional stop after his arrest April 12. Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the stop was recorded by a privately owned video camera, arousing suspicion among protesters who wondered why it was not previously mentioned.

The video belonged to shop owner Hwang Jung, who said police copied the footage. The original was lost when his store was subsequently looted, he said.

The new stop, Davis said, came between the first and second stops. Before it surfaced, police had spoken of three stops before arriving at the police precinct — one to put leg irons on Gray, a second “to deal with Mr. Gray,” and a third to pick up an additional prisoner.

That second stop remains under investigation.

Exactly when and how Gray suffered the injuries isn’t known, publicly at least. Some have said it appeared to occur during his arrest, others have theorized it may have been the result of injuries suffered during his ride to the police station. Police have said only that Gray had not been properly fastened into the van, a violation of department policy.

Was it in the van?

Gray injuries may have occurred in the van, according to a report by CNN affiliate WJLA-TV in Washington. The police investigation did not find he died from injuries caused during his arrest, the station reported, citing “multiple law enforcement sources briefed on the police findings.”

Instead, the station reported investigators believe Gray slammed into part of the police van, apparently breaking his neck. A head injury matches up to a bolt in the van, the station reported without mentioning how the injury may have happened.

An official in Maryland’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner wouldn’t comment to CNN on the report, citing the ongoing investigation.

Was it during the arrest?

The account of a woman related to one of the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest appeared to contradict the WJLA report.

She said that the officer believes Gray was injured during his arrest, although he does not know so for sure. She spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity and said the officer didn’t ask her to give the interview.

She is worried all six officers who encountered Gray during his arrest will be incriminated and punished when only two or three might be responsible.

“Six officers did not injure this man,” she said. “Six officers didn’t put him in the hospital.”

Stoking suspicion

The revelations have further stoked distrust among protesters, according to Bryant, the Baltimore protest organizer and community leader.

Young people have told Bryant in the past two days that they are “absolutely frustrated and their confidence level is absolutely shattered” and that Thursday’s news only exacerbated those feelings.

They are particularly suspicious of what police report about Gray’s arrest.

CNN legal analyst Mel Robbins was also suspicious of the new revelation of the additional stop.

“They found out about it after doing this investigation where they interviewed over 30 people,” she said. “So what that says to me is that if it’s going to take a closed-circuit, private camera to show the stop, that they were not getting that information from the police officers during the investigation.”

But Baltimore police Commissioner Anthony Batts told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that people are jumping to conclusions and no one is trying to cover anything up.

“I think it’s unfortunate that these little things are coming out. I think that it’s inappropriate,” he said.

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