Dozens of Baltimore police officials will continue a "massive investigation" of Freddie Gray's death even after their findings are delivered to state prosecutors as promised next week, Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said Friday.
Batts has set a May 1 deadline for police to share their findings with Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, whose office will determine whether charges are warranted against the officers involved in Gray's arrest and transport. However, the complexity of the case — and likely directives from Mosby to continue pulling on certain investigatory threads — will necessitate a deeper look at the facts, Batts said.
"Dozens of interviews have been conducted; many more remain," he said. "We're refining our investigation, we're getting closer, and the picture is getting sharper and sharper."
Still, many gaps remain in police officials' understanding of what happened April 12, when Gray sustained a spinal cord injury while in police custody that proved fatal, Batts said.
Kevin Davis, a deputy commissioner, said a major question is why Gray didn't receive medical attention immediately after the chase that ended in his arrest.
"It's a foot chase that's not a short one. It goes through several streets, several housing complexes, and eventually ends up along the 1700 block of Presbury [St.]," Davis said. "Quite frankly, that's exactly where Freddie Gray should have received medical attention, and he did not."
Gray had asked for an inhaler shortly after his arrest.
Instead, he was shackled — but not secured in a seat belt — in the back of a transport van, which then stopped multiple times at various points in the city before reaching the Western District police station, where Gray was unresponsive and an ambulance was called.
Gray and officers interacted at some of the stops, but it's unclear if they did at others, Davis said.
"Our investigative team is dedicating every resource at our disposal to each and every one of these sites. It's complex," he said.
Batts said at one of the stops, at Druid Hill Avenue and Dolphin Street, officers called to the scene by the driver of the van carrying Gray had to "pick him up off the floor and place him on the seat," but he declined to elaborate.
No time stamp or description of officers' interaction with Gray has been given for the van's last stop before returning to the Western District, in the 1600 block of W. North Ave.
Davis said the van driver decided to make that stop because other officers "were handling an arrest scenario" at that location and asked for help, but investigators are still looking for other answers as to what occurred there.
"We haven't reached a place in our investigation where we're certain enough on the details and the circumstances to share," he said.
A toxicology report is still due from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which also likely will be bringing in experts to examine Gray's spine, Batts said.
Batts acknowledged that Gray's injuries could have been caused by what is known as a "rough ride," which is when a police van is driven erratically in an attempt to harm unbelted, handcuffed passengers.
Baltimore deputy public defender Natalie Finegar said she had no personal knowledge of "rough rides," but found others in her office are aware of the practice.
"It is common knowledge among public defenders that [the Baltimore Police Department] has paid out significant judgments in 'rough ride' and other cases," said James Johnston, who is a public defender in Baltimore, in an email. "In my experience, it is not uncommon for clients to suffer injuries during an arrest. It's all part of what is often a heavy-handed approach to the arrest process, from the moment a citizen encounters police onward."
Baltimore Sun reporter Doug Donovan contributed to this article.