67°F
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.
THE LATEST
Philippine President Duterte injured in motorcycle mishap

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte suffered bruises and scratches falling off his parked motorcycle on the palace grounds but the minor injuries would not affect his schedule, his spokesman said Thursday

US airstrikes destroy ammunition left behind in Syria

Most of the 1,000 U.S. forces in Syria are being withdrawn over the coming days and weeks because of the Turkish invasion into northern Syria and the attack on Kurdish forces.

House denounces Trump’s Syria decision

The House, including 129 Republicans, passed a bipartisan resolution to condemn President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria.

Russia offers to mediate in Syria; Turks defy ceasefire pressure

As Russia and the U.S. launched diplomatic forays to end Turkey’s invasion of Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defied pressure for a ceasefire and said the only way the offensive would end was if Syrian Kurdish fighters leave a designated border area “by tonight.”

Consumers spooked? US retail sales dip 0.3% in September

Retail sales dropped in September by the largest amount in seven months, possibly signaling that rising trade tensions and turbulent markets are having an impact on consumer spending.

Felicity Huffman starts serving 2 weeks in college admissions scam

“Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman — aka inmate No. 77806-112 — reported Tuesday to a federal prison in California to serve a two-week sentence in a college admissions scandal.