Police detective: Misleading narrative presented to Freddie Gray grand jury
By Justin Fenton, June 25 2016
The lead Baltimore police detective in the Freddie Gray investigation said she reluctantly read to grand jurors a summary of evidence provided by prosecutors that she believed was misleading, according to police records reviewed by The Baltimore Sun. Hours later, the grand jurors issued criminal indictments against six police officers in the arrest and death of Gray.
Detective Dawnyell Taylor said in a daily log of case notes on the investigation that a prosecutor handed her a four-page, typed narrative at the courthouse just before she appeared before the grand jury. “As I read over the narrative it had several things that I found to be inconsistent with our investigation,” Taylor wrote, adding: “I thought the statements in the narrative were misquoted.”
But, she wrote, she was “conflicted” about challenging the state’s attorney on the narrative in the courtroom. “With great conflict I was sworn in and read the narrative provided,” she said in her notes. When the jurors asked questions, including whether Gray’s arrest was legal, Taylor wrote that prosecutors intervened before she could give an answer that would conflict with their assessment. Continue reading →
‘Rough Rides’ and the Challenges of Improving Police Culture
By David A. Graham, Apr 27, 2015
A rough ride. Bringing them up front. A screen test. A cowboy ride. A nickel ride.
Police say that intentionally banging a suspect around in the back of a van isn’t common practice. But the range of slang terms to describe the practice suggests it’s more common that anyone would hope—and a roster of cases show that Freddie Gray is hardly the first person whose serious injuries allegedly occurred while in police transit. Citizens have accused police of using aggressive driving to rough suspects up for decades in jurisdictions across the country. Though experts don’t think it’s a widespread practice, rough rides have injured many people, frayed relationships, and cost taxpayers, including Baltimore’s, millions of dollars in damages.
Gray’s funeral was Monday, eight days after he died and two weeks after he was arrested by Baltimore police under murky circumstances. President Obama sent three aides, including the chair of his My Brother’s Keeper task force, to the burial. Protests have roiled the streets of Baltimore ever since Gray died, forcing the city to reckon with a troubled police department and its fraught relationship with black citizens. Continue reading →
Famous Doctor Operated on [Enslaved African Women] Without Anesthesia
by Boyce Watkins (2010)
University of Illinois professor Deborah McGregor has shed light on an important piece of American history. McGregor has noted that Dr. James Marion Sims, considered the father of [western] gynecology, developed many of his techniques by operating on enslaved African women, many of whom were not given anesthesia.
McGregor, author of ‘From Midwives to Medicine: The Birth of American Gynecology,’ said “There is no doubt that he carried out experiments on women, and that he was only able to do so because they were [enslaved].”
Part of the controversy regarding Sims centers around a statue placed near Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street in New York City. The statue is located next to the New York Academy of Medicine, in a neighborhood that is majority African American and Puerto Rican. Continue reading →