(Reuters) - Six Baltimore police officers were charged on Friday in the arrest and death in April of a 25-year-old black man, Freddie Gray, the latest flashpoint in police use of lethal force and race relations in the United States.
The Baltimore police union that represents the officers said the six were only doing their jobs and were not responsible for Gray's death.
The following is Baltimore chief prosecutor Marilyn Mosby's account of how events unfolded:
- On April 12 between 8:45 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. near corner of North Avenue and Mount Street, Baltimore police Lieutenant Brian Rice, on bicycle patrol with Officers Garrett Miller and Edward Nero, makes eye contact with Freddie Carlos Gray Jr.
- Gray runs and the officers follow. When he is reached a short distance away, Gray surrenders. Police handcuff him and place him face down. Gray tells the officers he cannot breathe in the position and requests an inhaler but is denied.
- Miller and Nero move Gray into a seated position, search him and find a folding knife in his pants pocket. The knife, which is not a switchblade and is legal in Maryland, is removed and placed on the sidewalk. Gray is arrested without probable cause, according to Mosby.
- When Gray is set on his stomach for a second time, he begins to flail and scream. Miller restrains him in a "leg brace" while Nero holds him down until a police wagon driven by Officer Caesar Goodson arrives.
- Rice, Nero and Miller load Gray into the wagon but do not secure him with a seatbelt despite the Baltimore Police Department's general order to do so.
- At some point, Rice tells Goodson to pull over. Rice, Nero and Miller remove Gray from the wagon, place flex cuffs on his wrists, shackles on his ankles and fill out paperwork. Gray is loaded on board again head first, face down on the wagon floor. He is not secured with a seatbelt. Rice tells Goodson to drive to the central booking and intake facility.
- En route to the police station, Goodson parks the vehicle again to check on Gray but does not seek medical assistance. Again, he drives off without fastening Gray in a seatbelt, according to Mosby.
- Several blocks later, Goodson radios that he needs to check on the status of his prisoner and requests additional help. Goodson stops for a third time and Officer William Porter meets him. Both officers check on Gray, who indicates he cannot breathe and requests medical help at least twice. Porter moves Gray from the floor of the wagon to its bench area.
- While the officers discuss transporting Gray for medical attention, a call comes in requesting additional police support in arresting and transporting another person. Goodson drives off to lend his assistance. Gray, still unsecured, is inside the vehicle. No medical assistance is called for him.
- At the site of the new arrest, Goodson and Porter again check on Gray's condition. Sergeant Alicia White, who is told to investigate two citizen complaints about Gray's arrest, also checks on Gray and attempts to speak to him.
"When he did not respond, she did nothing further despite the fact that she was advised that he needed a medic," Mosby said.
- After loading an additional prisoner into the wagon with Gray, still unsecured, Goodson arrives at the police station. The second arrestee is taken inside before Gray is attended to.
- White and two additional officers attempt to remove Gray from the wagon, but Gray is no longer breathing, Mosby said.
- A medic is finally called and determines Gray is in cardiac arrest. Gray is taken to University of Maryland Medical Center trauma centre, where he undergoes surgery. He succumbs to injuries on April 19.
"Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the (police) wagon," Mosby said.
(Compiled by Laila Kearney; Editing by Grant McCool)
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