01:25 GMT17 January 2021
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    Following the public uprising in April over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, the city of Baltimore has decided to implement cameras capable of recording in the back of police vans, as well as upgraded riot gear for law enforcement.

    Freddie Gray died on April 19, after being thrown a week earlier into the back of a police van, shackled and handcuffed, without a seat belt, and had 80% of his spine severed in a “high-energy” injury.  The injury Gray sustained was similar to what you might see if someone dove head-first into the shallow end of a pool.

    Many have claimed that this was caused by the officer giving Gray a “nickel-ride,” a term used to describe an officer abruptly stopping or turning a corner to throw suspects around in the back of a van.

    Portrait of Freddie Gray
    Portrait of Freddie Gray

    The van that transported Gray was equipped with a camera for the driver to monitor suspects in the back, but the device was apparently broken.

    The city’s mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced on Wednesday that these vans will be outfitted with upgraded cameras that will record what’s going on in the back of the vehicles.

    "We're working through a process that will place cameras with recording capabilities in the backs of all our police vans, to ensure that we have a more complete record of what occurs there," Rawlings-Blake told reporters.

    Following Gray’s funeral, students from a local high school called for a protest, which quickly turned into a riot after officers nearly ran over a group of their students with a SWAT vehicle.

    Over 160 officers were injured during what activists refer to as “The Battle of Mondawmin,” as some of the riot gear the officers were issued failed to protect them.

    During an intense face-off outside the Mondawmin Mall, protesters were seen carrying around pieces of officers’ broken riot shields.

    Baltimore needs the right equipment in case trouble breaks out following trial verdicts in the Gray case, Rawlings-Blake said on Wednesday.

    "We hope to never have such unrest again in our city, but if we do, we need to make sure our officers are equipped for whatever situation they encounter," the mayor said during a news conference at City Hall. 


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