Dickelbers/Wikimedia (CC BY SA 3.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

Freddie Gray’s autopsy pinpoints ‘high-energy injury’ that caused death

Sudden deceleration of police van caused Freddie Gray's death, report says.


Ramon Ramirez


Published Jun 23, 2015   Updated May 28, 2021, 12:20 pm CDT

The Baltimore Sun has obtained Freddie Gray‘s autopsy report, and it lays out why his death was ruled a homicide by the Maryland medical examiner’s office. While Gray’s death could be called an accident in medical and legal terms, two acts of omission were grounds for the homicide label: Baltimore police did not administer aid, and they did not use a seatbelt on Gray while he was in police custody. This confirms initial claims made by anonymous law enforcement sources.

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The report notes that Gray was killed by one “high-energy injury.” It likely occurred following a sudden stop by the van he was riding in and to the lower left part of his head, according to the Sun. Gray was most likely injured between the second and fourth stops made by the police vehicle on its 45-minute drive to the precinct per a timeline pieced together by the Sun.

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Likewise, the medical examiner concluded that at some point Gray was thrown into the wall following a sharp turn. He was loaded into the police vehicle on his belly, but at some point stood up. He was shackled at the wrists and ankles and was “at risk for an unsupported fall during acceleration or deceleration of the van,” according to the report.

The report itself  has not been made public but was finished on April 30. It did not note any previous spinal injuries to Gray prior to his arrest. 

Gray’s death sparked protests in Baltimore back when it was learned that the 25-year-old sustained the fatal spinal injury while in police custody. Gray was arrested on April 12 for running away after making eye contact with police. He died in a hospital a week later.

Last month, a grand jury indicted all six police officers involved in the Gray arrest—Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller, William G. Porter, Edward M. Nero, Lt. Brian Rice, and Sgt. Alicia White. Two were charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment; three with manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment; and Goodson, the driver of the police vehicle, with second-degree “depraved-heart” murder, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, manslaughter by vehicle, gross negligence, criminal negligence, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment. 

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All six officers will go to trial in October. 

H/T Baltimore Sun | Photo via Dickelbers/Wikimedia (CC BY SA 3.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

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*First Published: Jun 23, 2015, 10:47 pm CDT