In an admission that came after a week of protests demanding information about what happened during the arrest of Freddie Gray by police officers in Baltimore, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts on Friday said that mistakes were made, including a failure to provide Gray with timely medical treatment, CNN reports.
Batts made the observation amid rising protests, saying that Gray was not belted into his seat in the rear of a police van as he was driven to a police station. Further, Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said that Gray should have received medical treatment at the scene of his arrest before being placed inside the vehicle, CNN reports.
The police van carrying Gray made three stops on the way to the police station, the report says, and investigators are trying to learn more about Gray’s condition at each stop.
At the first stop, Gray was placed in leg irons. The driver stopped a second time “to deal with Mr. Gray, and the facts of that interaction are under investigation,” Davis said, according to CNN. The van reportedly stopped once more to pick up a second prisoner.
Medical treatment was requested when the van arrived at the Western District station, the report says.
Still unclear is how Gray’s spine was broken and how much time elapsed during his transport to the station and before he received medical treatment. The identity of the second prisoner has not been revealed, and it is unclear what that person may have witnessed.
Gray suffered a spinal injury on April 12 that led to his death, reports say. Six officers have been suspended with pay while police and federal authorities investigate. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has pledged to get answers in the case.
The news of procedural failures during Gray’s arrest, part of which was captured in a viral video, comes as protesters have vowed to shut down the city in the latest high-profile case of possible police brutality. Demonstrators say that Gray’s death is emblematic of what they describe as police mistreatment of blacks in Baltimore and across the nation, according to the Associated Press.
The few details known about Gray’s treatment after the arrest are disturbing. Batts told reporters Friday, “We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.”
Jason Downs, an attorney for Gray’s family, said that the department’s admission of failures during Gray’s arrest is just the beginning of all that needs to be revealed.
“It's certainly a step towards acknowledging the truth that the police did not follow their own internal regulations,” Downs said on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront. “What it does not get at is … the core of this case, and that is: Why did Mr. Gray need medical attention in the first place? … That’s the question that still has not been answered.”