The officer-in-charge in the arrest of Freddie Gray – the Baltimore man whose death after being taken into police custody has sparked nationwide protests – had a history of mental illness that led to hospitalization in 2012, sheriff’s office records show.
The Associated Press obtained the records, which also said Lt. Brian Rice, the officer who first ran after Gray on the streets and who was the highest-ranking cop on the scene, once suffered mental health issues for an unknown amount of time that reached the level of concern for local sheriff’s deputies to confiscate his guns. Rice was put under psychiatric care in a hospital in April 2012 after declaring he “could not continue to go on like this,” AP said.
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He also threatened to commit an act that was censored from public view in the report AP obtained from the Carroll County, Maryland, Sheriff’s Office. He reportedly made that threat after deputies were called by a fellow Baltimore police officer to go check on his welfare at his home.
Then, deputies said he seemed “normal and soft spoken,” and attributed his condition to simply seeking “sympathy and attention,” the report said. At the same time, “credible information” led the responding deputies to confiscate all Rice’s guns, call his commanding officer and take him to a local hospital for watch.
AP couldn’t determine from the documents how long Rice stayed at the hospital and whether he left under his own volition.
Rice was also given two administrative suspensions in 2012 and 2013, an unnamed source familiar with the police department told AP.
The revelation comes as the Department of Justice and Baltimore police are seeking information into the death of Gray, 25, who reportedly ran after making eye contact in the street with Rice and was then taken into custody by several officers. After Gray was taken into the back of a police van, he was transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries and unresponsiveness and died a week later.
More information about his medical condition and the specifics of Gray’s death is due for release. Police in Baltimore and other cities around the country are on edge, as protesters have indicated they are not quitting their rallies until the truth is known and justice is served.