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Baltimore Police: Freddie Gray Should've Gotten Medical Help At Scene Of Arrest

Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Anthony Batts speaks about the investigation into Freddie Gray's death at a news conference on Friday in Baltimore.

Police officials in Baltimore admitted that their officers should have provided medical attention immediately following the arrest of Freddie Gray.

Instead, Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said during a press conference, police officers put handcuffed Gray and put him in the back of a police van without ever buckling him in.

The van went on to make three different stops across town. At the first, Gray was shackeled, but at no point said Commissioner Anthony Batts was Gray ever buckled into the van.

As we've reported, at some point on that day Gray suffered a fatal spine injury. His death has sparked city-wide demonstrations, demanding an end to police brutality.

When Batts was asked if Gray had suffered the spine injury because of a rough ride in the van, Batts said that they have not yet concluded their investigation. They are still unsure how Batts was injured.

Earlier today, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the police department would turn over its findings to the state attorney. Rawlings-Blake demanded answers, but she also called on her city to be patient.

"In order to have justice and not just seek justice, the investigation needs to follow procedures," she said. "We have to be able to follow up on leads and they have to be as thorough as possible."

Batts admitted that Baltimore — and especially its police department — have many challenges. But he rejected calls for his resignation, saying he has been a "reform commissioner."

Since he took on the position, he said, he has fired 50 employees, dropped officer-involved shooting incidents by 40 percent and has instituted new training regimes.

At the end of 2014, The Baltimore Sun released an investigation that found that over the course of about four years, Baltimore paid out $5.7 million to settle suits with more than 100 people who alleged police officers used excessive force.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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