before today, i hadn’t heard of “rough rides,” and there’s a good chance you haven’t either. basically, a “rough ride” is a horrifying process in which ‘a handcuffed man or woman is put into the back of a police van or paddy wagon, without being buckled in or secured. The vehicle then drives recklessly, making sharp, dangerous turns and sudden movements in ways that throw the passenger violently around the vehicle.’
here’s the evidence: rather than take Freddie Gray the short 2 minute drive from the arrest site to the police station (see left), he was deliberately driven recklessly for over 40 minutes (see right) around Baltimore, handcuffed and in the back of a police van, with no seatbelt, until his spine broke.
the terrifying thing is that this seems to happen a lot. earlier today, two more people came forward to testify that they were put through rough rides at the hands of the Baltimore PD. a 43-year-old man was charged with ‘public urination’ and given a rough ride that resulted in a spine fracture that rendered him quadriplegic for the rest of his life. five years ago, a former Baltimore police officer admitted that rough rides are an “unsanctioned technique” in which police vans are driven to cause “injury or pain” to unbuckled, handcuffed detainees. rough rides are very much a Real Thing.
in case it needs repeating: Baltimore police deliberately drove recklessly with a cuffed, injured Freddie Gray in the back of a van with no belt – a 40 minute ride for a destination 2 minutes away. his spine was severed, and it killed him.