An autopsy of Freddie Gray obtained by the Baltimore Sun found that he suffered a single "high-energy injury" that was most likely caused when the police van he was in suddenly decelerated or changed direction.
The Maryland state medical examiner's office also determined that Gray's death fits the medical and legal definition of an accident, but it was ruled a homicide because officers didn't follow safety procedures "through acts of omission."
According to the report cited by the Sun, Gray was placed into the van on his stomach, but not belted in. During transport, he may have managed to get to his feet, but with his wrists and ankles shackled, he was "at risk for an unsupported fall during acceleration or deceleration of the van," the examiner determined.
Gray, 25, of Baltimore, died on April 19 from injuries he sustained in police custody a week before. His death sparked widespread protests and unrest, some of which became violent.
Six officers involved in his death have been charged by Baltimore state's attorney's office. The driver of the van, Officer Caesar Goodson, a 46-year-old black man, was charged with "depraved heart" murder in the second degree, the most serious offense in this case. The other officers face lesser charges.
They've all pleaded not guilty.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the report was completed April 30, the day before charges against the officers were announced. The paper obtained the report, which has not been made public, by sources who requested anonymity because of the high-profile nature of the case.
The Maryland state medical examiner's office declined to release the report to BuzzFeed News.
Updated with information about the Maryland state medical examiner's office declining to release the report.
Adolfo Flores is a national security correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles. He focuses on immigration.
Contact Adolfo Flores at email@example.com.
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