Highest-ranking officer faces board over in-custody death

BALTIMORE (AP) — The very best-rating officer concerned within the arrest of a black man who was fatally injured in a police van did not give a cause for failing to buckle Freddie Grey right into a seatbelt as required, telling inner police investigators he “simply did not do it,” an investigator testified Monday at the beginning of the lieutenant’s disciplinary continuing.

Having been acquitted in a legal trial final yr, Lt. Brian Rice is now battling 10 administrative expenses earlier than a 3-member police disciplinary board of three officers.

Rice’s lawyer, Michael Davey, stated in opening statements that the police division failed at “each” degree to correctly alert officers a few essential coverage change — made simply three days earlier than Freddie Grey’s arrest in April 2015. Grey died every week later from a spinal twine damage suffered through the van experience.

Detective Sgt. Thomas Curtis, an outdoor investigator from Montgomery County who interviewed Rice as part of an inner police investigation, answered questions from Neil Duke, the lawyer for the police division who’s arguing Rice ought to face disciplinary actions as much as dropping his job.


“He did not have an evidence,” Curtis stated, including that Rice advised investigators: “We simply did not.”

However Davey argued that shift commanders like Rice nonetheless had discretion on whether or not to make use of a seatbelt. Beneath cross-examination by Davey, Curtis agreed the division did not correctly distribute the coverage change. Underneath questioning by Duke, nevertheless, Curtis stated Rice informed investigators that “he might have” opened an e-mail that contained the brand new coverage.

However Curtis additionally criticized the division for failing to offer correct gear or steerage for how one can deal with the transport of a combative detainee in a police van.

“I discovered nothing,” Curtis stated, when requested if there was any such steerage.

Officers who responded to the arrest have testified that Grey was not cooperative. He yelled as he was put into the van, attracting a few dozen individuals in a excessive-crime neighborhood throughout a interval of stepped-up policing efforts. Officers have testified that they tried to get Grey within the van and drive away resulting from considerations concerning the crowd.

“That is an inexpensive choice by these officers,” Davey stated.

The van stopped a brief distance away from the primary cease so officers might put Grey in flex cuffs and leg shackles. Duke argues that Rice might have put Grey in a seatbelt at…

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