The mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of 25-year-old Baltimore man Freddie Gray while in police custody has added to a growing number of incidents involving Black men, cops, and a loss of life. Amid the anger and frustration felt by many in the city and nationwide, the U.S. Department of Justice is launching an investigation into the matter.
The Baltimore Sun reported on the DOJ’s announcement, which came Tuesday (April 21) while protestors gathered at the Western District Police Station where Gray was taken into custody on April 12 and dying a week later. Police stopped Gray because he was allegedly in possession of an illegal switchblade.
What Baltimore Police and the DOJ are looking to determine whether or not rough force led to Gray’s vertebrae being cracked and if said injuries caused his death.
The Sun reports:
Officials and community leaders welcomed Tuesday the Justice Department’s announcement that it is opening a criminal investigation into Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore police custody — an incident that continues to spark angry demonstrations.
“The Department of Justice has been monitoring the developments in Baltimore, Md., regarding the death of Freddie Gray,” spokeswoman Dena Iverson said in a statement. “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.”
The federal agency did not release details about the investigation, but said it would include the FBI, the U.S. attorney’s office and civil rights lawyers within the department.
All across the Baltimore region, community leaders and politicians alike have voiced their concerns over Gray’s death in a variety of ways. The swell of protests has grown in the past days as details begin to trickle out. Thus far, the city has bot been besieged with anything beyond the passionate protests.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake both issued statements supporting the DOJ’s investigation.