Gray died April 19 in police custody after a spinal cord injury

By Alicia C. Dennis
Updated April 26, 2015 11:20 AM
Credit: Alex Wong/Getty

Protests on Saturday over the death of Freddie Gray – a 25-year-old man who died in custody of Baltimore police on April 19 – turned violent and led to 12 arrests, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said in a press conference Saturday.

“Today, we started off our day with very peaceful protests,” Batts told reporters, going on to say that many in the crowd were appreciative of the investigation going on in the department into the specifics of Gray’s death. “We are making deep, systemic changes in the culture of this organization, the people were very receptive to that.”

But as the protests continued, Batts said several “splinter groups” began to destroy property and turned violent.

“They became very violent, they started to throw objects, they picked up aluminum barricades, they smashed out windows in our bars and our pubs that are located on our Northwest side and just wrecked havoc,” Batts said. “Officers went into arrest teams and arrested a total of 12, not all at the same time.”

Freddie Gray’s twin sister pleaded for peace at a news conference alongside Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, according to Associated Press reports.

“My family just wants to say, can you all please, please stop the violence?” Fredricka Gray said. “Freddie Gray would not want this.”

What Happened to Freddie Gray?

Police and Mayor Rawlings-Blake have discussed the timeline of events that led to Gray’s death seven days after his April 12 arrest. In charging documents released by police and reported by The Baltimore Sun, Grey was charged with possessing a switchblade after he “fled unprovoked noticing police presence.” The report further states that Gray was arrested “without force or incident.”

Kevin Moore, a friend of Gray’s, told The Baltimore Sun he saw and heard Gray “screaming for his life” when he was arrested.

Police acknowledged Friday that Gray should have received medical attention at the spot he was arrested before he was handcuffed without a seat belt, a violation of police policy, reports the Associated Press.

Gray asked for medical help several times before being transported, according to reports. He died of a spinal injury days later.

The officers who arrested Gray were suspended with pay and are under criminal investigation by their own department, reports USA Today. The U.S. Justice Department is reviewing the case for any civil rights violations, and Gray’s family is conducting their own probe.

Below, is Police Commissioner Batts briefing reporters and the public on the arrests of protestors on Saturday:

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