Baltimore divided over suspect's death in police custody

Protests grow after Baltimore man's death in ... 02:34

Last Updated Apr 23, 2015 1:00 AM EDT

BALTIMORE -- A sharp divide is developing over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who ran from police and later died of a spine injury suffered while he was in custody.

Many in the community are demanding justice for Gray, with protest marches and rallies are planned across the city every night this week.

Demonstrators who have protested peacefully against Gray's death for several days took to the streets again Wednesday in two separate actions, The Associated Press noted.

As one group cursed at police and threw some soda cans at them at a police barricade, another marched 20 blocks to City Hall, at times blocking intersections and disruption traffic as they shouted: "No justice, no peace," the AP said, adding that three people were detained, no one was hurt, and the protests remained largely peaceful.

DOJ investigates Baltimore arrest death as ne... 02:54

Six officers have been suspended. The mayor and police commissioner are promising the results of an investigation next week.

Anthony Batts, who has been Baltimore's police commissioner since 2012, has publicly vowed to end Baltimore's history of police misconduct. He told CBS station WJZ Wednesday the department's intentions were good, but sometimes, officers have gone too far.

"Where we thought we were doing God's work -- where we're going out, trying to make the community safer -- we've made mass arrests," Batts said. "We've locked people up, we've taken people to jail in numbers, and we've obliterated this community. And so, we have to own that."

Meanwhile, the police union broke its silence Wednesday with a very different view of what happened on April 12. Gene Ryan, head of Baltimore's Fraternal Order of Police, launched a spirited defense of the officers -- and in a statement, likened the protesters to a "lynch mob."

"When you're trying to put somebody in jail before all the facts are in -- the investigation hasn't been completed," Ryan said at a news conference. "I mean, that's wrong."

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A still image taken from a cell phone video shows officers carrying Freddie Gray, center, to a police van on April 12, 2015, in Baltimore. CBS News

The protests were triggered last week by a video shot by a bystander, showing Gray screaming as he's carried by police to a van.

A second video surfaced Tuesday. It shows the van stopping about a block away and Gray on his knees. Police say they were putting leg irons on him because he had become irate inside the van.

Feds investigating Baltimore man's death in p... 01:26

Within 30 minutes, Gray stopped breathing and fell into a coma. He died Sunday of what the police now say was "a significant spinal injury."

The police report says Gray was apprehended because he fled when he saw the police.

"Running while black is not a crime. Felony running does not exist," said Billy Murphy, a lawyer for Gray's family. "And the lesson here was, he should have run -- and he didn't run fast enough."

Gray's family spent the day Wednesday planning his funeral. Details have not been announced, but it is expected to be a major event.

  • Chip-Reid_bio_140x100_bw.jpg
    Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.