A prisoner sharing a police transport van with Freddie Gray told investigators that he could hear Gray “banging against the walls” of the vehicle and believed that he “was intentionally trying to injure himself,” according to a police document obtained by The Washington Post.
The prisoner, who is currently in jail, was separated from Gray by a metal partition and could not see him…
Video shot by several bystanders has fueled the rage in West Baltimore. It shows two officers on top of Gray, putting their knees in his back, then dragging his seemingly limp body to the van as he cries out.
Batts has said Gray stood on one leg and climbed into the van on his own.
The van driver stopped three times while transporting Gray to a booking center, the first to put him in leg irons. Batts said the officer driving the van described Gray as “irate.” The search warrant application says Gray “continued to be combative in the police wagon.”
Before the second prisoner was even in the police van, Freddie Gray asked the police for medical assistance.
So you have to wonder why on earth a man who had just asked for help would then try to hurt himself—as the second prisoner supposedly concluded after he was picked up at the next stop a few minutes later…
But what the police have already disclosed is enough to suggest why the second prisoner might have believed Gray was trying to hurt himself—and why he was almost certainly mistaken
After the stop where he asked for medical assistance and medical assistance was denied to him, Gray seems to have resumed signaling his need for help by the only means available—by banging on the inside of the van.
BPD Commissioner Anthony Batts on 4/23 told us second prisoner in police van said Freddie Gray was "mostly quiet".
— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) April 30, 2015
We have reported that when van stopped to pick up 2nd prisoner, sources say, Gray was unresponsive. No evidence banging head against van
— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) April 30, 2015
An investigation into the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray has found no evidence that his fatal injuries were caused during the videotaped arrest and interaction with police officers, according to multiple law enforcement sources…
Sources said the medical examiner found Gray’s catastrophic injury was caused when he slammed into the back of the police transport van, apparently breaking his neck; a head injury he sustained matches a bolt in the back of the van.
Details surrounding exactly what caused Gray to slam into the back of the van was unclear. The officer driving the van has yet to give a statement to authorities. It’s also unclear whether Gray’s head injury was voluntary or was a result of some other action.
Allen described what he heard: “When I got in the van, I didn’t hear nothing. It was a smooth ride. We went straight to the police station. All I heard was a little banging for about four seconds. I just heard little banging, just little banging.”
Asked whether he told police whether he heard Gray banging his head against the van, Allen said, “I told homicide that. I don’t work for the police. I did not tell the police nothing.”
According to the autopsy on Gray, there is no evidence that Gray hit his head against anything on his own. His fatal neck and spinal injury was a kin to the type suffered in a car accident; it needed that amount of force and energy.
Gray is not the first person to come out of a Baltimore police wagon with serious injuries.
For some, such injuries have been inflicted by what is known as a “rough ride” — an “unsanctioned technique” in which police vans are driven to cause “injury or pain” to unbuckled, handcuffed detainees, former city police officer Charles J. Key testified as an expert five years ago in a lawsuit over Johnson’s subsequent death…
The most sensational case in Baltimore involved Johnson, a 43-year-old plumber who was arrested for public urination. He was handcuffed and placed in a transport van in good health. He emerged a quadriplegic.
Before he died, he complained to his doctor that he was not buckled into his seat when the police van “made a sharp turn,” sending him “face first” into the interior of the van, court records state. He was “violently thrown around the back of the vehicle as [police officers] drove in an aggressive fashion, taking turns so as to injure [Johnson] who was helplessly cuffed,” the lawsuit stated.
The police have said that he was not strapped into a seatbelt, a violation of department policy. That has led some to wonder whether he was deliberately left unbuckled, reminiscent of a practice [“rough rides”] that while little-known has left behind a brutal, costly legacy of severe injuries and multimillion-dollar settlements…
The tradition was regarded as a technique by aggressive officers to inflict punishment on those they arrested without ever being accused of physically assaulting them with their weapons or hands. For a suspect with hands cuffed behind him, seated on a thin bench in the back of a speeding police van, a sudden stop or a sharp turn or a bumpy road can do as much damage as a physical assault…
“It’s sort of a retaliatory gesture,” said Robert W. Klotz, a police-procedures expert who lives in Maryland and who is a former deputy chief of police of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. “It’s one of those nebulous type of things where the individual feels they’ve been subjected to it because they’ve been mouthy. The officers say they have no intent in doing anything. It winds up in a he said-she said situation.”
Online reports are swirling that Freddie Gray had spinal surgery shortly before he died in police custody, and had collected a payout in a settlement from a car accident. Those reports — which raise questions about the injury that led to his death in April 19 — point to Howard County court records as proof.
But court records examined Wednesday by The Baltimore Sun show the case had nothing to do with a car accident or a spine injury. Instead, they are connected to a lawsuit alleging that Gray and his sister were injured by exposure to lead paint…
Jason Downs, an attorney who is with Murphy’s firm and represents one of Gray’s relatives, said, “We have no information or evidence at this point to indicate that there is a prior pre-existing spinal injury. It’s a rumor.”
Baltimore police revealed Thursday morning in a news conference that a transport van carrying Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who suffered a severe spinal injury in police custody, made one more stop than was previously known…
Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said police found out about the new stop from video footage captured on a privately owned surveillance camera. According to the timeline Davis laid out, the new stop is the second of four stops the van made on April 12.
The van first pulled over to complete paperwork after the driver believed Gray began acting “irate.” Then the van made a second, previously unknown stop (Davis did not elaborate on what occurred during this new stop). At a third stop, an officer had “some communication” with Gray, which was under investigation. The van then picked up another arrestee at a fourth stop before completing its trip to the Western District police station, where a medic was called to respond to Gray.
Judge Andrew Napolitano gave us his reaction this morning on the new report and the next steps in the investigation.
The judge said that under the law, the police were still “responsible for [Gray’s] life and his safety” while he was in custody…
He also pointed out that police will not be publicly releasing a report on Gray’s death tomorrow. It will instead be handed over to the State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby…
“Bottom line is the government must be transparent. We have the right to know what happened. Whether it makes the police look bad, whether to charge them with a crime, or whether it exonerates them,” said Napolitano.
“The medical evidence does not suggest at all that he was able to injure himself,” Miller said. “The force of this injury, akin to have the force involved in a car accident with all that momentum going, that is much more force than you would get trying to bang your head against the wall of the van.”
“You have to have other injuries,” she continued. “You can’t bang your head against the van, to injure yourself in a fatal way, without having a bloodier head. There is just no information that would corroborate that.”