Earlier this month, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby reportedly sought a protective order that would keep the autopsy of Freddie Gray from the public. It was the death of Gray in Baltimore police custody, apparently from a spinal injury, that led to the riots (or “uprising,” as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake likes to call it) that left part of the city looted and burned to the ground.
Today, though, the Baltimore Sun is reporting on a copy of the autopsy report it obtained, and the final word from the medical examiner is that the circumstances of Gray’s death fit both the medical and legal definitions of an accident; however, a failure of police officers to follow safety procedures make Gray’s death a homicide.
In short, the medical examiner ruled that Gray, who was shackled but not belted in, suffered a “high-energy injury” in the back of the police van, likely during a sudden deceleration. Gray, who had been loaded into the van on his stomach, likely had gotten to his feet while the van was moving.
The report does mention that Gray was found to have opiates and cannabis in his system when he was admitted to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
The van’s driver faces charges of second-degree depraved heart murder, three officers are charged with manslaughter, and the remaining officers face lesser charges.
The Baltimore Sun notes that deadlines loom in the case.
All of the officers have pleaded not guilty, and a trial has been set for October.
The autopsy report was completed April 30, the day before State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced criminal charges against the officers. The autopsy has not been made public, and the deadline for releasing evidence in the case to defense lawyers is Friday. A copy of the autopsy was obtained and verified by sources who requested anonymity because of the high-profile nature of the case.
How the police officers will fare in court is uncertain, but the autopsy results don’t seem to be swaying opinions online.