- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2015

A Baltimore man died Sunday from injuries sustained while in the custody of police suffered “a very tragic injury to his spinal cord,” Baltimore Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said during a press conference Monday.

Freddie Gray, who is 25 years-old and black, was allegedly injured by the Baltimore police after trying to flee arrest on April 12. Two days later, he was in a coma and in critical condition at a local hospital. By the end of the week, he was dead.

Witnesses claimed that the police used excessive force. Mr. Rodriguez said the department has been looking into the case and cautioned the community not to compare Baltimore to Ferguson. Officers involved were transferred to administrative duties, Mr. Rodriguez said at a separate press conference last week.

The outrage and fear of the community has not fall on deaf ears, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts told reporters at the news conference today. Mr. Batts also said he apologized to Mr. Gray’s family and promised that his department’s investigation would be completed by May 1.

An internal police email, obtained by The Washington Times, shows growing friction between the community and the Baltimore Police Department.

Baltimore police officers received an over-the-phone threat a few days before Mr. Gray died that Baltimore “gangs were going to kill any police” who returned to the area where Mr. Gray was injured.

“Let’s not panic, but exercise extreme caution and officer safety,” the Baltimore police chief of patrol instructed fellow officers in the email. The chief then urged those officers to buddy up when operating in the area.

Department of Justice officials have been reviewing the policies and procedures of the Baltimore Police Department — a step toward reforming one of the largest police forces in the nation. The review is just one of many oversight measures that the department is taking in an effort to quell the tension between in fractured communities across the United States.

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