UPDATE: Baltimore police have turned over to Maryland authorities their findings on the death of Freddie Gray, but no details have yet been made public. Our earlier post is below.
Did the man whose mysterious death in police custody touched off the Baltimore riots deliberately cause his own potentially fatal injuries? That’s a serious question now being asked in light of a startling report by The Washington Post that suggests Freddie Gray may have been “intentionally trying to injure himself” while he was confined in a police van. The Post article is based on a document supposedly written by a Baltimore police investigator and is part of a massive probe of Gray’s as yet unexplained death.
“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 article notes that the unidentified prisoner who is said to have reported Gray’s self-destructive behavior could not see, but only heard what was happening, because he was “separated from Gray by a metal partition.”
Advertisement - story continues below
Regarding this potentially game-changing story in The Washington Post, CNN notes that the revelation comes “just before Baltimore police are set to release to state prosecutors the results of their investigation into Gray’s arrest and death.” The state will then decide what charges, if any, should be brought against the officers involved in Gray’s arrest and transport on the day he suffered serious spinal injuries that eventually led to his death.
The CNN report also contains another element to the story of what may have happened to Freddie Gray — a twist that could change the narrative on which protestors in Baltimore and other major cities around the country have based their rage at supposed police brutality. A woman who said she is related to one of the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest and transport — a woman who wished to remain anonymous — told CNN that Gray was likely injured, at least to some degree, before he was placed in the police van.
“Six officers did not injure this man,” she told CNN’s Don Lemon. “Six officers didn’t put him in the hospital. I’m worried that instead of them figuring out who did, that six officers are going to be punished behind something that maybe one or two or even three officers may have done to Freddie Gray.”
In addition to another night of protests on Baltimore streets, other cities saw significant demonstrations and numerous arrests on Wednesday, as CNN observed, starting in New York City:
Police said more than 100 people were arrested during a “NYC Rise Up & Shut It Down With Baltimore” rally.
In Denver, police made nine arrests during a similar protest Wednesday night. The charges include assault of a police officer, robbery, resisting police, disobedience to lawful orders, obstructing roadways and interference.
And more protests are slated over the next two days in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland, Oregon, and Oakland, California.
These new developments in the case of Freddie Gray and the resulting violence that gripped Baltimore and tensions that run ominously through many American cities give at least a little additional weight to a sketchy story that’s been circulating on some parts of the web. While unconfirmed by any official source, the story is based on reports that Gray had a pre-existing medical condition that may have contributed to his injury on the day of his arrest.
From the website rickwells.us: “The media is leaving out much of the career criminal history of Freddie Gray in their reporting. It seems now that they may also be failing to investigate and discuss his possibly relevant medical history, which may have included surgeries for spinal injuries incurred in an automobile accident.” There are images of documents on this site that purport to provide a basis for the suggestion that Gray may have been seriously injured prior to his arrest.
Again, the suggestion that Gray might have been suffering from a previous spinal injury even before Baltimore police cuffed and hauled him into a transport van is, at this point, only that — a suggestion and not a confirmed fact. But given the slowly developing picture of a possible truth far different from the narrative embraced and aggressively acted upon by protestors as well as some public officials, it will be interesting to see if there has indeed been a costly rush to judgment in the disturbing and racially divisive case of Freddie Gray.
Advertisement - story continues below