Man injured in Gilmor Homes arrest has spine surgery, remains in coma

A man critically hurt in a West Baltimore arrest this week had spine surgery and remained comatose Wednesday.

A man injured in a videotaped encounter with Baltimore police near Gilmor Homes this week had surgery and remained in a coma Wednesday, while the Police Department still declined to comment on why he was arrested or how he was hurt.

Freddie Gray, 27, underwent a double surgery Tuesday on three broken vertebrae and an injured voice box, his stepfather, Richard Shipley, said. Doctors have told his family he was without oxygen for a time but did not sustain a brain injury in the encounter, Shipley said.

"He's doing a little better, I guess," Shipley said. The operations "went as well as could be expected. They won't know until he wakes up."

Four bicycle officers tried to stop Gray at about 9 a.m. Sunday in the 1600 block of W. North Ave. for an alleged violation that police have not identified. He ran, police said, and the officers caught him and restrained him on the ground while awaiting backup.

A video that circulated widely on social media and prompted the Police Department to hold a news conference about the incident showed him yelling as police held him on the sidewalk and then carried him, his legs dragging limp on the street, into a police van.

In the news conference, Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said he had watched the video several times and "at no time…did I see the use of force at that moment."

Police declined to answer any follow-up questions about the incident, citing an ongoing investigation.

Prisoners have made claims in the past about being injured by being unrestrained in police vehicles while being transported. A police spokesman declined to comment on whether a citywide order to properly restrain prisoners, given shortly after the news conference, was related to the Sunday incident.

Shipley cast doubt on that scenario. "If you fell out of your restraints, you might break a bone, but three bones in different areas?" he said.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

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