Gene Ryan, head of Baltimore’s Fraternal Order of Police, took a step back following backlash over a remark he made regarding protesters in the Freddie Gray case. “Maybe I need to reword that,” he said at a news conference. But while Ryan acknowledged that his words were inappropriate, the Gray family’s lawyer is demanding an apology, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Ryan heaped fuel on an already tense situation when he said that protesters were acting “like a lynch mob” as he vigorously defended the police officers involved in Gray’s brutal arrest that resulted in his death.
William Murphy, the Grays’ lawyer, demanded an immediate apology. Murphy told the Sun that it’s unfathomable that Ryan could call demonstrators a lynch mob when the police have a history of lynching black people.
“We’ve been the victims of the lynching and now we’re the lynch mob?” he asked rhetorically. “The president of the police union called peaceful protests and the anger at the death of a man to severe and unfathomable injuries while in police custody a lynch mob? It doesn’t get more insensitive or insulting than that. These remarks illustrate why black people and the police don’t get along.”
Indeed, many view what happened to Gray as a lynching. Kevin Moore, whose video of Gray’s arrest has been seen by millions, is speaking out about Gray’s fatal encounter with the police. “They had him folded up like he was a crab or a piece of origami,” he told the Sun. “He was all bent up, and the officer had his knee in his neck. He was just screaming, like screaming for life.”
There’s no video of what happened to Gray inside the police van, where the officers laid him in handcuffs and leg irons. But new information has emerged indicating that police failed to secure him with a seat belt. These “rough rides,” as they’re called, have paralyzed—or killed—some arrestees.
After the arrest, police took Gray to a hospital, where doctors discovered his spinal cord almost completely severed. The 25-year-old man slipped into a coma and died a week later. The police officers deny culpability for Gray’s fatal injuries. Federal authorities are now investigating.
Read more at the Baltimore Sun.