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A Leaked Police Document Says Freddie Gray Might Have Been 'Trying to Injure Himself'

A witness statement in a police document obtained by the <i>Washington Post</i> contradicts some of what has been said about the incident.

by Allie Conti
Apr 30 2015, 4:07pm

Photo of police cruisers in Baltimore via Pixabay

Moments before Freddie Gray was carted away by Baltimore police on April 12, he was screaming. When he arrived at the station, he was unconscious with a severed spinal cord. His father, after visiting Gray at the ICU, said it looked like his son had been beaten. We still don't know what occurred inside the van, but allegations that he had been subject to a so-called "rough ride"—where cops deliberately inflict damage on detainees—sparked a riot in Baltimore on Monday as well as protests across the country.

At the time of the demonstrations, all the public knew was that Gray was not wearing a seatbelt in the van and that the police admitted to not giving him proper medical care. But on Wednesday evening, the Washington Post published a sealed police document containing testimony from another prisoner inside the van at the time. Although the unnamed man couldn't see Gray during the ride because they were separated by a metal partition, he apparently told police the 25-year-old was "banging against the walls" and that it seemed like he "was trying to injure himself."

The document seems to contradict what appears in the video of Gray's arrest, in which a man admonishes the cops: "After they Tased you like that, you wonder why he can't use his legs." It also goes against what journalists have been hearing from their sources—that Gray was unresponsive before he was loaded into the van. More specifically, Jayne Miller, a reporter for WBAL-TV, tweeted that Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts told her on April 23 the second prisoner said Gray was "mostly quiet."

"We disagree with any implication that Freddie Gray severed his own spinal cord," Jason Downs, the Gray family attorney, told the Post. "We question the accuracy of the police reports we've seen thus far, including the police report that says Mr. Gray was arrested without force or incident."

On Thursday morning, the Baltimore Police Department held a press conference at which it was announced that the investigation into Gray's death is now being handled by the state's attorney. It was also disclosed that the van carrying Gray made a previously unreported stop.

So far, six officers have been suspended for their roles in the incident. The results of the inquiry will determine whether they will be indicted for Gray's death, but just because the probe is wrapping up doesn't mean we'll find out the results any time soon.

"Whatever time the state's attorney needs to make that determination, the family wants to get it right," Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday.

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