Baltimore Police Lieutenant Brian Rice, the officer who first made eye contact with slain suspect Freddie Gray and led the initial chase that apprehended the 25-year-old, was once hospitalized for an unspecified mental health issue and once made a death threat directed at his ex-girlfriend’s husband, media reports and court documents say.
As a result of the death threat and other alarming statements made by Rice in 2012, sheriff’s deputies seized several weapons owned by the officer.
Gray died due to a severed spinal cord after his arrest by Rice and five other officers on April 12. The incident started, according to a prosecutor’s report, when Rice and another officer made eye contact with Gray, who apparently became frightened and ran away.
The officers chased Gray and eventually arrested him, finding a knife on him — a knife that was perfectly legal under Maryland law.
Rice’s mental health history was uncovered by The Associated Press. In its report, the AP said that it sent a reporter to Rice’s home seeking comment, but the 41-year-old Rice called the police to report the visit as an illegal trespass.
The hospitalization of the Baltimore police officer took place in 2012, after deputies checked on Rice’s welfare at the request of his ex-girlfriend, who is also the mother of Rice’s son and a fellow Baltimore police officer, Karen Crisafulli.
Crisafulli, who also declined to speak to reporters, reportedly became concerned after Rice told her he “could not continue to go on like this,” according to a sheriff’s department report.
Though Rice appeared calm when deputies finally tracked him down, the deputies confiscated seven weapons from his home, including his police service weapon, as well as an AK-47 rifle and two shotguns.
In June of 2012, according to the reports, Rice threatened Crisafulli’s husband, Andrew McAleer, after pulling a semi-automatic handgun from the trunk of his car.
In January of 2013, McAleer filed a complaint against Rice, asking for protection against the officer, due to “constant fear for my personal safety” and a “fear of imminent harm or death from Brian Rice,” according to a report in The Guardian newspaper.
A court granted the protective order against Rice, but the order was lifted after just a week because a judge then decided that it was not legally justified.
McAleer had called 911 as Rice stood outside his home with a gun, demanding that McAleer come out, according to protection request.
Not all of the reports coming out regarding Brian Rice this week have painted a dark picture, however. The officer who chased Freddie Gray in the incident that led to Gray’s death, once also rescued a two-year-old toddler who alone in burning house. That incident happened in 1998, according to The Baltimore Sun.
[Images: Family of Freddie Gray, Baltimore Police Department]