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As Baltimore's policing tactics remain in the spotlight following the charging of six officers in the April death of Freddie Gray, who sustained a fatal neck injury while riding in the back of a police van, investigators are now looking into photos of a sign allegedly stuck inside a patrol vehicle door reading: "Enjoy your ride, cuz we sure will!"
The Baltimore Police Department quickly condemned the sign that appears in photos that have circulated widely on social media, and said it is taking the matter "very seriously."
"The nature and the posting of the wording is both concerning and unacceptable," Baltimore City Police Sgt. Jarron Jackson said in a statement. "We have recently become aware of the wording and have begun an internal investigation to determine all the circumstances surrounding its placement and to identify the person or persons responsible for its posting. This is an incident that is being taken very seriously."
Gray, 25, sustained a "high-energy injury" as he rode shackled and unbelted in the back of a police van after his arrest on April 12. His lawyers said he suffered a severed spine and crushed voice box at some point during the journey, which led to his death a week later in a local hospital. Authorities are still unclear on the exact moment that Gray's deadly injuries occurred. The van made numerous stops along the route from the arrest site to the police station. An autopsy report found Gray's most significant injury, on the lower left part of his head, was likely sustained sometime between the second and fourth stops, and possibly before the third.
Gray's death was followed by mass protests across Baltimore that at times turned violent.
Prosecutors later said that police had no probable cause for Gray's arrest. Police had taken him into custody after he reportedly fled when an officer made eye contact him. He was found with a "knife clipped to the inside of his front right pants pocket," authorities said, which was later determined to be legal under Maryland law. All six officers involved in the case are facing a variety of charges relating to Gray's homicide, and are currently awaiting trial.
After the photos of the sign emerged, Deputy Police Commissioner Dean Palmere reportedly ordered all police vehicles to be inspected. Baltimore station WBAL-TV reported that police had verified the photos and launched an internal investigation.