Freddie Gray autopsy report: High-energy injury during van ride caused death, medical examiner believes.

Freddie Gray Died of Single “High-Energy” Injury, Leaked Autopsy Report Says

Freddie Gray Died of Single “High-Energy” Injury, Leaked Autopsy Report Says

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June 23 2015 5:27 PM

Freddie Gray Died of Single “High-Energy” Injury, Leaked Autopsy Report Says

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A memorial to Freddie Gray near the site of his arrest.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Confirming earlier stories about how Freddie Gray is believed to have died, the Baltimore Sun says the Baltimore medical examiner's autopsy report on Gray concludes his fatal spinal injury was caused by a single, "high-energy" impact that most likely occurred, in the Sun's words, "when the police van in which he was riding suddenly decelerated." (The autopsy report has not yet been made public, but the Sun says it has obtained a copy.) From the story:

The state medical examiner's office concluded that Gray's death fit the medical and legal definition of an accident, but ruled it to be a homicide because officers failed to follow safety procedures "through acts of omission" ... He was not belted in, but his wrists and ankles were shackled, making him "at risk for an unsupported fall during acceleration or deceleration of the van."
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Based on information including "witness statements, videos and an examination of the transport van," the medical examiner's report indicates Gray was injured "after the second and before fourth stops made by the van driver" as the vehicle made its way to a police station.

Two more items of note from the Sun's dispatch:

  • While video of Gray's arrest seems to show him in pain, the medical examiner did not find evidence that he was injured during the arrest process.
  • A leaked police document suggested that according to a fellow passenger, Gray may have been flailing and trying to hurt himself during his ride in the van, though the passenger in question has denied that interpretation of his account. The autopsy report is said to conclude that given the time at which the passenger was near Gray, intentional self-injury "would not have been possible" given the injuries Gray had already sustained, but that "he may have been suffering a seizure at the time, which could have caused the noise."

Six officers allegedly involved with Gray's death have been indicted, and the driver of the van has been charged with second-degree murder.