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Freddie Gray: From Baltimore Arrest to Protests, a Timeline of the Case

Gray, 25, died about a week after he was arrested on April 12 in west Baltimore. He suffered a spinal injury while in police custody.
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/ Source: NBC News

With protests spreading beyond Baltimore's borders, the name of 25-year-old black man Freddie Gray is being invoked in nationwide calls for police reform.

Gray suffered a spinal injury while in police custody and later died. What led to his arrest — and the events afterward — remain under investigation as the six officers involved have been charged in his death. Police and city officials have released some information during news conferences based on officer interviews and reports. Here's a timeline:

April 12

8:39 a.m.: Four police officers on bicycles at the corner of North Avenue and Mount Street in west Baltimore make "eye contact" with Gray and another man, and they begin pursuing Gray after he "fled unprovoked," officials and charging documents say. (It's not clear whether police stopped Gray solely because he ran.)

8:40 - 8:46 a.m.: Gray is caught and gives up without force in an incident recorded on cellphone video. A police van is called, and Gray asks for an inhaler. Gray is on the ground and is then placed inside the van after his legs appear to go limp, witnesses say. Gray is heard screaming, and the van's driver says he is "acting irate in the back," according to police. The van stops so Gray can be placed in leg irons.

8:47 - 9:23 a.m.: The van makes a second stop for a reason not immediately known. Police determine this stop based on a review of closed-circuit and privately owned cameras. As the van makes its way to the Baltimore Police Department's Western District, the driver calls for a unit to check on Gray. Before getting to the station, the van makes a third stop to pick up a second prisoner. The second prisoner later says he heard Gray briefly making noise on the other side of a metal barrier.

9:24 a.m.: At the police station, a medic is called. Paramedics arrive and provide care for 21 minutes before Gray is taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

11:25 p.m.: Police issue a summons against Gray for possessing a switchblade knife, which officers at the scene say they noticed in his pants pocket, according to charging documents.

April 13

Baltimore police hold a news conference about the arrest and defend their actions. "At no time — and I've seen the video a number of times — did I see a use of force at that moment, but again, the video is a portion of the incident," says Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez.

April 14

Gray undergoes double surgery on his spine.

April 15-18

Gray remains in a coma.

April 18

The first protest is held. Hundreds of people gather in front of the Western District station, put their hands up and turn their backs to police. Gray's stepfather tells the crowd: "If this happens to him, it could happen to any of you."

April 19

Gray is pronounced dead at the hospital at 7 a.m. As protests resume, a lawyer for the Gray family releases a statement: "His take-down and arrest without probable cause occurred under a police video camera, which taped everything including the police dragging and throwing Freddie into a police vehicle while he screamed in pain."

April 20

At a news conference, Baltimore officials announce that six police officers are suspended but that they deny using excessive force during Gray's arrest.

April 21

The Justice Department announces a federal investigation into Gray's death. Protests continue, and Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts says he's pleased that they have been peaceful: "I think that they're sharing their thoughts, they're sharing their concerns, and I hear them and I understand."

April 23

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan deploys the state police to Baltimore as protests grow. At least two protesters are arrested in the afternoon.

April 24

City officials hold a news conference, and Batts acknowledges that police should have given Gray care sooner instead of waiting more than 40 minutes after his arrest for a medic to arrive: "We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times."

He also revealed that Gray was not wearing a seat belt while he was being transported.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says she met with protesters earlier in the day over their concerns and in anticipation of more demonstrations the next day.

April 25

More than 1,000 people gather for a protest and march toward City Hall. Police say they arrested 12 people — "pockets of individuals causing disturbances" — after rocks are thrown at cops and windows are smashed near Camden Yards. Five officers suffer minor injuries. A group of juveniles also looted a 7-Eleven, police say.

April 26

Gray's wake is held. Inside the coffin is a pillow embossed with his picture and the quotation, "Peace, Y'all."

April 27

Gray's funeral is held. Mourners at New Shiloh Baptist Church jam into a second-floor balcony, prompting the church to open an overflow room with a live feed of the funeral.

That night, Baltimore explodes into violence. Cars are set on fire, cinder blocks are thrown at police and stores are looted across the city. Hogan declares a state of emergency as state police and the National Guard are called in.

April 28

Mayor Rawlings-Blake announces a weeklong city-wide curfew beginning at 10 o'clock each night until 5 o'clock the following morning.

April 29

Police say their initial report on Gray's death would not be released publicly to protect the integrity of the inquiry but would be handed over to the state's attorney for Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby. Meanwhile, dozens of people arrested during the week's unrest are released because police are unable to complete their paperwork in time.

Later that night, The Washington Post publishes a story that states the other prisoner in the van with Gray told police that Gray may have been trying to harm himself. But NBC station WBAL of Baltimore reports that medical evidence made available does not suggest that Gray was able to harm himself while in police custody.

Protests commence in several cities nationwide, including Denver, San Diego and New York City.

April 30

Batts says the police investigation of Gray's death has been given to the state's attorney. He praises and thanks Baltimoreans for observing the curfew peacefully but says it will remain in place through the following weekend.

Donte Allen, the second man in the police van with Gray, tells WBAL that "all I heard was a little banging for like four seconds" from the other side of the barrier separating them on April 12. His account differs from the one ascribed to him in the Post report.

Nationwide rallies continued, with notable protests in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

May 1

Mosby announces charges against six officers involved in arresting and transporting Gray. The charges include second-degree murder, manslaughter, assault and misconduct in office, among others. She also says the switchblade knife that police found on Gray was not a switchblade but a type of knife legal under Maryland law.