Freddie Gray, a black man who died of a spinal injury sustained while under custody of the Baltimore Police Department, suffered a “high-energy injury” that was most likely caused when the police van he was riding in suddenly decelerated, according to a leaked copy of an autopsy report obtained by The Baltimore Sun.
Though the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office concluded his death fit the medical and legal definition of an accident, it has been ruled a homicide because police made "acts of omission" when it came to basic safety procedures, the report stated.
The examiner's office has not yet confirmed or denied the veracity of The Baltimore Sun report. But State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, whose office is prosecuting the officers implicated in Gray's death, acknowledged in a statement that the autopsy report had been leaked.
"I want to make it very clear that the State's Attorney's Office did not release the Freddie Gray autopsy report," said Mosby. "As I have repeatedly stated, I strongly condemn anyone with access to trial evidence who has leaked information prior to the resolution of this case."
Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12 following a foot chase by officers and placed in the back of a police van. As he was being transported to jail, he suffered a severe spinal injury and died one week later on April 19. Mass protests erupted in Baltimore following Gray’s funeral.
The medical examiner surmised that although Gray was loaded into the police van on his stomach, he may have gotten to his feet and was thrown into the wall during an abrupt change in direction, the Sun said.
Gray 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," the newspaper said, citing the autopsy report.
The report was completed on April 30, the day before Mosby announced criminal charges against the six police officers involved in the case. The charges include second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.
Also on Tuesday, Mosby revealed that all of the officers charged in Gray's death have pleaded not guilty.
Gray's death, which occurred in the midst of other nationwide protests against police killings of unarmed black men, sparked outrage and violent protests in Baltimore that drew national and international attention.
Al Jazeera and Reuters