weather icon Clear

Justice Department investigating after man fatally injured during arrest

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday that it is gathering information on the death of a man who died after being arrested by the Baltimore police to determine whether it can bring civil rights charges.

Baltimore police on Tuesday identified six officers suspended over the death of Freddie Gray, a 27-year-old black man who was arrested on April 12 and died days later in hospital after slipping into a coma. A preliminary autopsy report said he died from a spinal injury.

The death has sparked outrage in the largely black city, and the case has renewed concern about U.S. law enforcement’s treatment of minorities.

“Based on preliminary information, the Department of Justice has officially opened this matter and is gathering information to determine whether any prosecutable civil rights violation occurred,” a Justice Department spokeswoman said.

Police said the officers involved in the arrest were Lieutenant Brian Rice, 41, Sergeant Alicia White, 30, Officer William Porter, 25, Officer Garrett Miller, 26, Officer Edward Nero, 29, and Officer Caesar Goodson, 45.

The six have been suspended with pay. Much of the incident was captured by bystanders’ video recordings.

Officers arrested Gray after he fled when they approached him on a street. They found a switchblade knife in his pocket and put him in a police van for transport to a station.

When Gray was taken from the van, he was unresponsive and transported to a hospital.

Police will complete an investigation by May 1 and turn the results over to state prosecutors, department Commissioner Anthony Batts said on Monday.

The investigation will undergo an outside review, the third into police-involved deaths since Batts became head of Maryland’s biggest force in 2012.

The two previous reviews concluded that officers acted correctly but recommended changes in procedures. A review report last year into a 2013 death said Baltimore police used force in just under 1 percent of arrests that year, a rate it called low.

Baltimore has had four officer-involved shootings so far in 2015, compared with five at the same time a year earlier, a police spokesman said.

Gray’s death followed a series of killings of unarmed black men by white police. The deadly encounters, including incidents in Ferguson, Missouri; New York; and North Charleston, South Carolina, have raised a national outcry.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Strong quake hits near Greek capital of Athens, sparks fear

A strong earthquake hit Friday near the Greek capital of Athens, causing residents to run into the streets in fear and firefighters to check for people trapped in elevators.

US wasted no time getting El Chapo to supermax prison

A lawyer says authorities have wasted no time in sending the convicted Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo to an ultra-high-security prison where he will serve a life sentence.

House-approved $15 minimum wage has little chance in Senate

House Democrats approved legislation Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, to $15 an hour, but the bill has almost no chance in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Rural Ohio county staggers from impact of opioid influx

The numbers are staggering: An average yearly total of 107 opioid pills per resident were distributed over a seven-year period in this rural county deep in Appalachia.