The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Freddie Gray’s mother attempts suicide, report says

Gloria Darden, center, mother of Freddie Gray, with other members of the Gray family in April. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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Just last month, Gloria Darden — the mother of Freddie Gray, whose death after an alleged “rough ride” with Baltimore police sparked riots in the city this past spring — found some measure of vindication. Baltimore settled with Gray’s family for $6.4 million — an amount that exceeded the $5.9 million wrongful death claim New York officials agreed to pay to the family of Eric Garner, another symbol of police brutality — as six officers implicated in Gray’s death await trial.

“The fact the civil matter seems to be resolved hopefully will reduce some of the tension among people who might have demonstrated at each of those six trials,” Kurt L. Schmoke, a former Baltimore mayor and state’s attorney who is now president of the University of Baltimore, said after the settlement, as The Washington Post’s Keith Alexander reported. “They might feel there is at least some semblance of justice that has occurred for the Gray family.”

But now, Darden has reportedly attempted to take her own life. The news came from CBS Baltimore, which cited multiple, unnamed sources in a story late Thursday.

Billy Murphy, the lawyer for the Gray family, issued the following statement:

“Because of an improper invasion of her privacy, Ms. Darden is being thrust into the national spotlight about an extraordinarily personal matter while she is still mourning the loss of her son. I saw her today and I can assure you that this kind of publicity is not at all helpful. We strongly urge the media to show restraint. The family asks that you continue to pray for her and for them.”

According to the report, Darden tried to take her life on Wednesday. The story did not say by what means. At 9:35 p.m. that evening, a call for a person in need of medical attention came from North Baltimore. CBS reported this was Darden, who was transported to a hospital with superficial wounds that did not require stitches or surgery. The network also reported she is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

As The Washington Post’s Terrence McCoy reported, Gray and his twin sister, Fredericka, were born two months prematurely to Darden, who said in a deposition she began using heroin when she was 23. Gray lived in the hospital his first months of life until he gained five pounds.

[Freddie Gray’s life a study on the effects of lead paint on poor blacks]

After Gray’s death at 25 from a spinal cord injury allegedly received at the hands of police, Darden expressed satisfaction that the officers prosecutors said were involved were arrested.

“I feel good because we got all six of them,” she said. “… You can rest, Freddie. You can rest. You can be in peace now.”

Darden, who is to receive $5.36 million of the settlement awarded Gray’s family, also urged peace as Baltimore erupted.

“Don’t tear up the whole city just for him,” she said. “That’s wrong.”

In May, she broke down during an interview with NBC News.

“I wish it had never happened,” she said of her son’s death. “And I will never be the same.”