Stein Calls Latest Gray Verdict "A Sickening Miscarriage of Justice and Horrific Case of Police Violence."
In response to the acquittal of Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., who was facing the most serious charges of the six officers indicted in Gray's death, presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein issued the following statement.
"I am physically sickened as I review the video of Freddy Gray's arrest. A man screaming in pain is unable to walk, dragged like a rag doll by police towards their van. Witnesses describe Freddy Gray moments earlier being bent like a pretzel on the ground by the police as he screamed "get off my neck".
"As a physician, I see red alert for a serious spinal cord injury well before Freddie Gray was loaded into the police van. As a human being I see the unspeakable violence of racist policing in all its horror.
"The evidence grows from there. On the same video, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake states Mr. Gray repeatedly requested medical attention. That he asked for his inhaler before the van arrived suggests he was already struggling to breathe, also consistent with a spinal cord injury. The subsequent autopsy report showing no bodily injury other than a severed spine also points to the police assault that bent him into a pretzel, as the cause of death. A "rough ride" capable of breaking his neck would have caused multiple additional body injuries.
"All this points to a catastrophic spinal cord injury resulting from the assault on Mr. Gray by police. It is shameful that he was not provided immediate medical attention. It is unthinkable that he was attacked by police in the first place without provocation or justification. It is inexcusable that his assaulters were charged with injuring him in the police van, when readily available evidence suggests he already had a devastating spinal injury as a result of their assault.
"What kind of a sham judicial process is taking place? Is this intentional mischarging so as to guarantee impunity to the perpetrators? Or is this simply prosecutorial incompetence?
"Whatever this is, it is part of a larger crisis of intolerable racial violence in policing and the courts, not to mention in our prisons, society and political culture as a whole.
"It's time for justice writ large – for police accountability, for civilian-controlled police review boards, and for independent prosecutors to investigate deaths at the hands of police. And it's time for a truth and reconciliation commission to address this living legacy of racial violence that flows in an uninterrupted line from slavery to lynchings, Jim Crow, redlining, housing and school segregation, the war on drugs, and now, revealed by cell phone cameras, the epidemic of police violence.
"Meanwhile, Freddy Gray deserves to have those who took his life stand trial for valid charges for which there is compelling evidence, not a diversionary charge that ignores what is painfully evident to anyone whose eyes are not already closed."