A group of family, friends and supporters of Tyrone West picketed on a downtown Baltimore street Friday afternoon demanding justice for the 44-year-old man who died in police custody after a routine traffic stop last month.
Getting occasional honks of support from passing cars, about 20 protesters marched outside the offices of Baltimore State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein, calling for him to release the autopsy results and bring charges against the police officers who witnesses said beat and pepper-sprayed West.
"I know he was profiled," said Lamont Brown, 43, a longtime friend who joined the protest at Baltimore and Calvert Streets. "A black guy with dreadlocks in a Mercedes-Benz — he must be selling drugs."
Police said West suffered "medical distress" after fighting with officers who stopped him for a traffic violation in the 1300 block of Kitmore Road on July 18 and suspected there were drugs in the car. Witnesses have said he did not appear to be resisting the officers.
Eight city police officers are under investigation, and Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez has said previously that they are on administrative duty, as is customary in such a case.
Mark Cheshire, a spokesman for Bernstein, said the autopsy report has not been completed by the medical examiner's office. A spokesman for the medical examiner confirmed that the report was not finished.
"They're conducting a thorough investigation," Cheshire said. "The investigation is ongoing, and as a policy, we don't comment on ongoing investigations."
That did not satisfy the protesters.
"How could the autopsy report not be completed in two weeks?" asked Leo Burroughs, a community activist who helped organize the protest. "You know what's not complete? The cover-up that's being orchestrated by the police and state's attorney."
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