Lead officer in Freddie Gray arrest twice accused of domestic violence

Demonstrators protest outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a rally for Freddie Gray, in Baltimore, April 21, 2015. (Reuters / Jose Luis Magana)
The Baltimore, Maryland cop who led initial the chase of Freddie Gray ‒ who subsequently died of a broken neck after his arrest ‒ may have a history of domestic violence. Meanwhile, citizens are protesting repeated abuse by the police department.

More protests are expected in the city as people demand justice.

The Baltimore PD suspended with pay six officers involved in Gray’s arrest on Tuesday. They were identified as Lieutenant Brian Rice, 41, Sergeant Alicia White, 30, and Officers William Porter, 25, Garrett Miller, 26, Edward Nero, 29, and Caesar Goodson, 45.

Gray was arrested by the six officers on April 12 after reportedly making eye contact with the police. Law enforcement officers said the 25-year-old “fled unprovoked” from police in an area known for drug activity. He was detained and placed in a police van, where he suffered a serious spinal cord injury that led to his death a week later.

Rice, who led the initial chase, has twice been accused of domestic violence and was temporarily ordered by a court to stay away from a second person, the Guardian reported.

He faced actions in Maryland’s civil courts over alleged domestic violence in 2008 and 2013, according to public filings. In both cases, requests for protective orders were denied by the judge. For a week in 2013, Rice was also ordered not to abuse, contact, nor go to the home or workplace of a second person who took him to court.

Police have not given further details of the roles each officer played in Gray’s detention. In their report filed to court on Gray’s arrest, they wrote that he was arrested “without force or incident” and had suffered a “medical emergency” during his transportation in the police vehicle. Senior officials echoed this claim and said all the officers deny using force.

Gray was able to breathe and speak when he was first put into the police van. When he was taken out, he could not do either, Baltimore PD Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said at a media briefing on Monday.

After arriving at a hospital for treatment, Gray fell into a coma and died on April 19. His neck was left “80 percent severed” by the breaking of three vertebrae and his voice box was almost crushed, according to his family’s attorney.

Gray’s death has resulted in multiple protests in Baltimore, where local police have failed to explain how and why Gray was injured. The Baltimore PD is also conducting an investigation into the incident, which is scheduled for completion next week. Results are expected by May 1.

Baltimore locals are protesting the police department’s inactivity in investigating a growing list of misconduct and abuse claims against its citizens.

Protests are expected to continue Wednesday. Stay with RT America for special coverage of the demonstrations.