Baltimore mourns death of Freddie Gray
BALTIMORE — A night of violence gave way to a day of mourning Sunday for a man who died after sustaining serious injuries while in the custody of Baltimore police.
A small line of mourners filed into the Vaughn Green East funeral home for a wake held for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died a week after an encounter with police left him with grave spinal injuries. Mourners passed by Gray’s silk-draped, white coffin. He lay dressed in a white shirt, black pants, white sneakers and Los Angeles Dodgers white baseball cap.
Above the lid to the coffin was a floral arrangement and inside the lid was a pillow with a screen-printed picture of Gray flanked by doves and the quote, “Peace, Y’all” at the bottom edge.
About 20 people sat inside the chapel as a steady stream of people filed inside, waiting their turn to view the body.
Mourners also gathered outside. Some held up signs that read, “We remember Freddie” and “Our Hearts Are With The Gray Family.”
Gray’s funeral is planned for Monday.
At a church service earlier Sunday, Pastor Jamal Bryant told the congregation at Empowerment Temple AME Church that “somebody is going to have to pay” for Gray’s death.
Bryant told churchgoers, almost all of them black, that if “you’re black in America your life is always under threat.” Bryant also addressed the violence that erupted Saturday night during what began as a peaceful demonstration attended by more than a thousand people.
Some 34 people were arrested, according to Baltimore Police Department, and six police officers sustained minor injuries. After services were over, Bryant, whose church will pay for Gray’s funeral, met with the family. He said after the meeting that they are “holding on” and that they don’t want violence.
Bryant said marches and demonstrations would continue but that “violence never leads to justice.”
Roughly 1,200 protesters gathered at City Hall on Saturday afternoon, officials said, to protest Gray’s death, which has prompted near-daily demonstrations since he died April 19. Gray was arrested one week before that when officers chased him through a West Baltimore neighborhood and dragged him into a police van.
However, a smaller group splintered off and looted a convenience store and smashed storefront windows. A protester tossed a flaming metal garbage can toward a line of police officers in riot gear as they tried to push back the crowd. Earlier, a group of protesters smashed the windows of at least three police cars.
Police acknowledged Friday that Gray should have received medical attention at the spot where he was arrested — before he was put inside a police transport van handcuffed and without a seat belt, a violation of the Police Department’s policy.
Gray was arrested after he made eye contact with officers and ran away, police said. Officers held him down, handcuffed him and loaded him into the van. While inside, he became irate and leg cuffs were put on him, police have said.
Gray asked for medical help several times, beginning before he was placed in the van. After a 30-minute ride that included three stops, paramedics were called.
Authorities have not explained how or when Gray’s spine was injured.
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