Freddie Gray funeral draws White House officials, Eric Garner’s family

Updated 7:48 AM EDT, Wed April 29, 2015
Freddie Gray
Freddie Gray's twin sister, Fredericka Gray, is embraced by family members and supporters during her brother's funeral.
PHOTO: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Now playing
02:59
Family, dignitaries pay respects to Freddie Gray
goodson trial porter testifies Freddie Gray pkg_00005926.jpg
goodson trial porter testifies Freddie Gray pkg_00005926.jpg
PHOTO: WJZ
Now playing
01:51
Charges dropped for remaining cops in Freddie Gray case
Mosby
Mosby
PHOTO: WMAR;
Now playing
13:46
Mosby: Decision not to proceed is agonizing
baltimore mayor blake freddie gray mosby reaction sot_00004115.jpg
baltimore mayor blake freddie gray mosby reaction sot_00004115.jpg
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:11
Baltimore mayor: Mosby's announcement not surprising
Lt. Brian W. Rice, 41, was one of three officers on bike patrol who encountered Gray and subsequently arrested him. Rice, an officer since 1997, and the other officers failed to establish probable cause for Gray
Lt. Brian W. Rice, 41, was one of three officers on bike patrol who encountered Gray and subsequently arrested him. Rice, an officer since 1997, and the other officers failed to establish probable cause for Gray's illegal arrest, Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said.. Rice and two other officers handcuffed Gray and put shackles on his ankles. The officers placed Gray back on the floor of the wagon, face down. Rice was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
PHOTO: Baltimore Police Department
Now playing
00:52
Officer cleared in Freddie Gray death
Freddie Gray arrest Baltimore
Freddie Gray arrest Baltimore
PHOTO: WJZ
Now playing
01:59
Officers cleared in Freddie Gray's death
Officer Caesar Goodson, one of six Baltimore city police officers charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, arrives at a courthouse before receiving a verdict in his trial in Baltimore, Thursday, June 23, 2016.
Officer Caesar Goodson, one of six Baltimore city police officers charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, arrives at a courthouse before receiving a verdict in his trial in Baltimore, Thursday, June 23, 2016.
PHOTO: Patrick Semansky/AP
Now playing
03:22
Freddie Gray van driver cleared on all charges
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 23:  Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero (C) arrives at the Mitchell Courthouse-West on the day a judge will issue a vertict in his trial May 23, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. Nero is one of six police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, whose injuries while in police custody resluted in his death and sparked days of protests and riots in Baltimore last year.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 23: Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero (C) arrives at the Mitchell Courthouse-West on the day a judge will issue a vertict in his trial May 23, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. Nero is one of six police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, whose injuries while in police custody resluted in his death and sparked days of protests and riots in Baltimore last year. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Now playing
01:28
Officer found not guilty in Freddie Gray case
Freddie Gray arrest Baltimore
Freddie Gray arrest Baltimore
PHOTO: WJZ
Now playing
02:25
Lawyer: Freddie Gray settlement should be 'calming'
devin allen freddie gray photographer baltimore pkg_00012614.jpg
devin allen freddie gray photographer baltimore pkg_00012614.jpg
Now playing
02:17
The picture that changed his life
baltimore freddie gray settlement pkg_00001018.jpg
baltimore freddie gray settlement pkg_00001018.jpg
PHOTO: WJZ
Now playing
01:27
Freddie Gray complained of 'bad back'
freddie gray settlement baltimore mayor stephanie rawlings blake sot nr_00001901.jpg
freddie gray settlement baltimore mayor stephanie rawlings blake sot nr_00001901.jpg
Now playing
02:06
Mayor: Freddie Gray settlement 'right fiscal decision'
exp erin dnt sidner baltimore freddie gray death investigation_00005202.jpg
exp erin dnt sidner baltimore freddie gray death investigation_00005202.jpg
Now playing
01:28
Freddie Gray case: $6.4M settlement
baltimore pretrial rulings Jean Casarez lead live_00000805.jpg
baltimore pretrial rulings Jean Casarez lead live_00000805.jpg
Now playing
02:14
Separate trials for cops charged in Freddie Gray case
freddie gray officer hearings baltimore _00004023.jpg
freddie gray officer hearings baltimore _00004023.jpg
Now playing
01:35
Freddie Gray case will go forward, judge says
Family of Freddie Gray gave CNN picture of Freddie Gray-- man killed in MD
Family of Freddie Gray gave CNN picture of Freddie Gray-- man killed in MD
PHOTO: Courtesy Gray Family
Now playing
00:55
Baltimore State's Attorney deputy once defended Gray
Freddie Gray arrest Baltimore
Freddie Gray arrest Baltimore
PHOTO: WJZ
Now playing
01:38
Report: Freddie Gray autopsy shows 'high-energy injury'
newday stephanie rawlings-blake baltimore freddie gray arrest_00002126.jpg
newday stephanie rawlings-blake baltimore freddie gray arrest_00002126.jpg
PHOTO: WJZ
Now playing
03:11
Officers: Mosby asked us to target area of Gray arrest
baltimore drug store looting marquez dnt ac_00005309.jpg
baltimore drug store looting marquez dnt ac_00005309.jpg
Now playing
03:06
Baltimore drug stores face wave of robberies
stokes baltimore commissioner intv at this hour_00020113.jpg
stokes baltimore commissioner intv at this hour_00020113.jpg
Now playing
02:07
Baltimore councilman: Police have 'lost the streets'
baltimore drug violence malveaux dnt_00000117.jpg
baltimore drug violence malveaux dnt_00000117.jpg
PHOTO: WBAL
Now playing
01:56
Drugs to blame for Baltimore crime spike?
ac pkg marquez baltimore rising homicides_00021507.jpg
ac pkg marquez baltimore rising homicides_00021507.jpg
Now playing
02:41
Baltimore's deadliest month in 15 years
ac intv baltimore police chief batts_00020402.jpg
ac intv baltimore police chief batts_00020402.jpg
Now playing
05:12
Baltimore Police Chief on decreased number of arrests
Now playing
02:22
Baltimore police officers indicted
ac dnt sidner baltimore pharmacy crisis_00001607.jpg
ac dnt sidner baltimore pharmacy crisis_00001607.jpg
Now playing
03:27
Baltimore riots causing pharmacy crisis
exp erin dnt sidner baltimore freddie gray death investigation_00005202.jpg
exp erin dnt sidner baltimore freddie gray death investigation_00005202.jpg
Now playing
02:46
Was Freddie Gray murdered in police custody?
newday daily hit baltimore mom_00002311.jpg
newday daily hit baltimore mom_00002311.jpg
Now playing
03:39
Baltimore mom who saw son toss rock: "I just lost it"
PHOTO: Marilyn Mosby Campaign
Now playing
02:56
Who is Marilyn Mosby?
Freddie Gray arrest Baltimore
Freddie Gray arrest Baltimore
PHOTO: WJZ
Now playing
02:38
Retracing Freddie Gray's last steps in Baltimore
PHOTO: Baltimore Police Department
Now playing
02:42
Specific charges, profiles of Freddie Gray officers

Story highlights

Eric Garner's family and other members of Families United for Justice will attend Gray's funeral

Gray was arrested April 12 and died a week later from a severe spinal cord injury

Three White House officials will also attend Gray's funeral

(CNN) —  

A white casket sat at the front of New Shiloh Baptist Church in West Baltimore as a gospel choir sang for a large crowd gathered to honor Freddie Gray.

The 25-year-old died in police custody 15 days ago after he was arrested on a weapons charge. His death from a severe spinal chord injury sparked widespread outrage toward the Baltimore Police Department.

Gray’s death in custody is the latest in a string of high profile deaths involving African-Americans and law enforcement.

Many have demanded answers about what happened to Gray and his funeral drew civil rights leaders, politicians, and relatives of others who died in police custody.

Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland spoke at the funeral: “To mother Gloria and to the entire family, I want you to know we stand with you during this difficult time.”

Cummings said he “looked at the cameras” and reflected on the great amount of attention Gray was receiving in death: “Did anybody recognize Freddie Gray when he was alive?” he asked.

Cummings said that Gray joined the church in 2001. He was in youth choir and was a junior usher.
“He loved church,” Cummings said.

Gray also played football. “Did you see him?” the representative asked.

“There are those who will tell you don’t cry. I’m not going to say that,” Cummings said.

Gray also had a history of run-ins with the law. According to court documents CNN obtained, there were more than 20 criminal court cases in Maryland against Gray, and five of those cases were still active at the time of his death. The cases involve mostly drug-related charges, but there are charges from March for second-degree assault and destruction of property. Gray was due in court on a possession charge on April 24.

He had been in and out of prison since 2009 for various drug cases, according to the Maryland Department of Corrections.

Families United for Justice was also at the funeral. The group includes relatives of Eric Garner, who died last July after a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold. Protests erupted after a grand jury declined to indict that officer.

Other members of the group include relatives of Amadou Diallo, who was fatally shot by New York police officers, and Alberta Spruill, who died of a heart attack after police threw a stun grenade into her apartment during a botched raid.

The White House sent Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson, chair of the Obama administration’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force; Heather Foster, an adviser in the White House Office of Public Engagement; and Elias Alcantara from the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Questions remain

Exactly what happened to Gray remains a mystery. His family said his voice box was crushed and his neck snapped before he slipped into a coma and died.

News of Gray’s smashed upper spine and the delay in getting him medical care has triggered outrage across the country.

Peaceful protests marred

Hundreds of protesters peacefully rallied on the streets of Baltimore on Saturday against the alleged police role in Gray’s death. A small group turned violent.

About a dozen young men smashed police vehicles with garbage cans, climbed on top of the cars and stomped on them.

Some hurled water bottles and other objects at police.

Others funneled their anger toward local businesses, looting or damaging a 7-Eleven, a Michael Kors store and a Subway restaurant.

Baltimore police arrested 35 people, including four juveniles. Six officers suffered minor injuries during the chaos, which ended a week of civil and peaceful protests.

Gray’s twin sister deplored the violence.

“My family wants to say, ‘Can y’all please, please stop the violence,’ ” Fredericka Gray said Saturday night. “Freddie Gray would not want this.”

Journalists detained by police

Baltimore City Paper said its photo editor, J.M. Giordano, was tackled and beaten by police while covering the protests.

The paper said Giordano was standing near protesters when someone threw a rock at police. Officers responded, and Giordano was unable to get out of the way.

“They just swarmed over me,” he said. “I got hit. My head hit the ground. They were hitting me, then someone pulled me out.”

The incident was caught on video, which Baltimore City Paper posted online.

And Reuters photographer Sait Serkan Gurbuz said Baltimore police detained him Saturday night.

Officers called the detention of the two journalists inadvertent.

“One journalist (Gurbuz) was released with a criminal citation, which is being recalled,” police said in a statement. “One journalist (Giordano) was released without any charges.”

The investigation

Cell phone video of Gray’s arrest shows him screaming and being dragged, with some witnesses saying he looked like his leg was injured.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said he was appalled that Gray did not receive proper care immediately. He also said officers should have given Gray timely medical care “multiple times” – such as at the site of the arrest and at other times during his transport to the police station.

Batts also said there are no excuses for the fact that Gray was not buckled into the transport van.

But Baltimore’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 shot back: “These comments appear to be politically driven and in direct contrast to the commissioner’s own request not to jump to any conclusions until the entire investigation is complete,” union President Gene Ryan said in a written statement.

Five of the six officers involved in the arrest have provided statements to investigators, Batts said. The sixth officer has invoked his right to refuse to answer questions.

And while the preliminary work on Gray’s autopsy has been completed, the medical examiner’s office is waiting on toxicology results and might ask spinal experts to look at the case, authorities said. A full report could take 30 to 45 days.

Not just Freddie Gray: Others who died in police custody

Holly Yan reported and wrote from Atlanta; Miguel Marquez reported from Baltimore. CNN’s Ben Brumfield, Betsy Klein and Vivian Kuo contributed to this report.