Baltimore police have submitted the results of their investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody. His death has sparked mass protests and riots over police brutality.
The report was handed over to the city's chief prosecutor, Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, on Thursday, a day earlier than expected.
"I understand the frustration; I understand the sense of urgency," Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said. "That is why we have finished it a day ahead of time."
Mosby's office is tasked with deciding whether the death of 25-year-old African American Freddie Gray warrants charges against the six patrol officers, whose involvement in the case led to their temporary suspension.
In a statement released on her office's website, Mosby emphasized that the Baltimore police department's probe would serve as only part of the evidence taken into consideration.
"While we have and will continue to leverage the information received by the Department, we are not relying solely on their findings but rather the facts that we have gathered and verified," the statement read.
The case has sparked mass protests in Baltimore and other cities, with many in the public believing that police mishandling led to Gray's death. On Monday, a violent band of protesters looted and burned down parts of western Baltimore following Gray's funeral.
The incident has drawn further attention to distrust between the public and police in the East Coast city, where African Americans comprise over 60 percent of the population. Over 20 percent of Baltimore residents live below the poverty line.
Protesters have taken to the streets in other cities, such as New York, in solidarity with Baltimore
US media speculates about cause of death
Police detained Gray on April 12 for reasons that remain unclear. Video footage from onlookers shows police dragging the 25-year-old into a transporter van. By the time the police vehicle reached its destination, Gray's spine was 80 percent severed at the neck. He died a week later in the hospital.
How he could have sustained such a fatal injury remains the central question of the investigation and the source of public anger over yet another African American death at the hands of the police.
On Thursday, Reuters news agency, citing a local affiliate of the US broadcaster ABC, reported that Gray's neck was broken when it was slammed into the back of the police van. The local television station went on to report that his head injury matched a bolt in the transporter.
US daily The Washington Post reported separately on Wednesday that Gray had been "banging against the walls" and "was intentionally trying to injure himself," citing the second prisoner in the transporter. The evidence appeared to corroborate a statement by Police Commissioner Batts, also citing the second detainee, that Gray still had been moving when the van made its final stop.
Following a state of emergency over violent protests, Baltimore residents have begun cleaning up the damage to their city
Video app targets police actions
The questionable circumstances surrounding Gray's death has revived public outcry over police brutality against African Americans, cries which have grown louder within the past year with the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Walter Scott. Given the disputed circumstances surrounding each of those deaths, many are calling for police to wear cameras.
In the US state of California, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced on Thursday the release of an app for Californians to record police encounters and then submit them directly to the ACLU, in a bid to take immediate action against police abuse.
"We are so proud to put an innovative new tool in people's hands, empowering people to know, to assert and to protect their rights," ACLU's executive director for Southern California, Hector Villagra, told the Los Angeles Times.
It was not immediately clear whether the app would be available in any other states.
kms/bk (AP, AFP, Reuters)