Two new accounts of what happened to Freddie Gray question the narrative of police brutality that has fueled protests in Baltimore, it emerged Thursday morning.
The first new evidence comes from a relative of one of the officers involved in the arrest. The witness told the press that the officer believes Gray was injured while he was being arrested, before he was put inside a police van.
The second account comes from a prisoner who was in the same police van. The prisoner reportedly told investigators he thought Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself”, according to sources at The Washington Post.
The new revelations come just before Baltimore police are set to turn over their investigation to state prosecutors, who will decide whether charges should be filed against any officers.
The woman who spoke to the media did so on the condition of anonymity and is related to the officer. But the woman clarified that the officer didn’t request the interview.
She told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, among others, that the officer isn’t sure how Gray was hurt during his arrest.
The woman gave an explanation of why Gray was not buckled into the police van: he was being belligerent.
“They didn’t want to reach over him. You were in a tight space in the paddy wagon. He’s already irate,” she said.
“He still has his teeth and he still has his saliva. So in order to seat belt somebody you have to get in their personal space. They’re not going to get in his personal space if he’s already irate.”
Police Commissioner Anthony Batts has conceded that Gray should have been buckled in.
“We know he was not buckled in the transport wagon, as he should’ve been. No excuses for that, period,” Batts said last week.
As for when and where exactly Gray suffered the fatal injury, Batts said there was “potential” it could have happened either inside or outside the police van.
Baltimore police plan to hand over findings from their investigation to state prosecutors on Friday. The event will be far from the end of the case however.
“Let me further clear up: When we take our information or our files to the State’s Attorney’s Office on Friday, that is not the conclusion of this investigation,” Batts said.
“That is just us sitting down, providing all the data we have. We will continue to follow the evidence wherever it goes.”
Don’t expect prosecutors to announce a decision about charges anytime soon.
“I hate to say this, but I think if people are waiting for answers or charges to come on Friday. I don’t think that’s going to happen based on the way the process works,” Gray family attorney Mary Koch said.
“I think that the government officials need to advise people of how the process honestly works and to lower their expectations about what’s going to happen this Friday.”
The new revelations show just how racially and socioeconomically charged the situation is. There appears to be a fundamental lack of trust between our marginalized and law enforcement / justice officials. Even without the full set of facts a large group of the population is conditioned to assume the worst.
It shows that, regardless of the circumstances in the Gray case, America has a significant amount of work to in order to restore the faith and trust of all citizens in our justice system.Stay Connected