BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 24: Flanked by faith-based and community leaders, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks during a news conference at the City Hall on the latest development of the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray, one week after under custody in a police van, April 24, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury.

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Demonstrators have been protesting ever since Gray died last weekend, after his controversial arrest

Taylor Lewis
Apr, 24, 2015

As protesters continue to march through the city of Baltimore demanding justice in the death of Freddie Gray, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held a press conference this afternoon asking for peaceful protests and calling for answers in the tragic case.

Gray died last Sunday, one week after he was arrested by Baltimore police officer for allegedly possessing a switchblade. Thirty minutes after his arrest, Gray sustained back injuries before an ambulance was called to the police department. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he underwent surgery and slipped into a coma, dying a week later. An autopsy shows that his spine was 80 percent severed, and he had three broken vertebrae. The police have not released a statement yet.

"Our community is very clear," Rawlings-Blake said at the press conference. "They demand answers, and so do I. I still want to know why the policies and procedures for transports were not followed. I still want to know why none of the officers called for immediate medical assistance despite Mr. Gray's apparent pleas."

Calling the incident unacceptable, Rawlings-Blake promised that the city would conduct a thorough investigation, and, if necessary, "will hold the proper parties responsible." However, she reminded the community that the investigation would take time. She praises demonstrators for their peaceful protests, and asks that they remain calm as the investigation continues.

"We have strong communities here," she said. "We have a strong faith community here. And we have a strong tradition of being able to protest and still be respectable and strong in our community."