UPDATE: Freddie Gray’s death has been ruled a homicide and charges will be filed against the 6 arresting officers. This just came in at 10:55 (30 minutes after I wrote this piece), so that’s all the detail I have right now. And yes, I know that it contradicts something I said in the piece, but never let it be said that I can’t admit an error in my conclusions!
Last night, we got a bunch of new information about what happened on the day Freddie Gray was arrested. I have to say that I’m not loving how we’re getting the information, and I’m not sure how much of it will actually be in the "official" investigation, but I wanted to share it. I normally wait until something more concrete materializes, but this is important information so I will share it with minimal speculation (cause that’s how these things get dumb).
The source for all of this information is a local ABC news affiliate, who got it from an unnamed source who was briefed on the investigation. I’m generally uncomfortable with stories that are entirely unsourced, but there are a few pieces of information disclosed by this source. that I believe will prove to be accurate.
The first big piece of information that we have, is that;
"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."
That’s verbatim from WJLA’s piece. Here’s another direct quote from the piece that’s important as it relates to the information above;
"An investigation into the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray has found no evidence that his fatal injuries were caused during his videotaped arrest and interaction with police officers, according to multiple law enforcement sources."
The source seems to be making it clear that the blame is focused on the van ride, and away from the arrest. Did you notice the qualifiers there?
Remember the absurd allegation that was floated a couple of days ago, when Freddie Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself” according to another prisoner in the van? Well, they haven’t taken that heaping pile of bullshit off the table, although there didn’t seem any new advances in this fanciful story. The prisoner that was attributed to spoke up to dispute how his testimony is being portrayed. His name is Donta Allen, and here’s what he had to say (from the article);
Allen said he did not know a man was already in the van. Gray was on the right side and Allen was loaded on the left side with a divider separating them.
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.
Sources have told the 11 News I-Team that by the time Allen was loaded into the van, Gray was unresponsive. Citiwatch camera video shows officers looking into the Gray’s side of the van with the doors fully open.
Medical experts said as Gray’s condition deteriorated after the injury occurred, he may have suffered seizures.
Allen told the 11 News I-Team what he heard when the van arrived at the Western District Police Station: "When we got to the police station, they said he didn’t have no pulse or nothing. They called his name, ‘Mr. Gray, Mr. Gray.’ And he wasn’t responsive."
So it’s clear that the "he did it to himself" turd isn’t going to float.
Here’s one of the big shockers we got last night; the van made another stop that we didn’t previously know anything about. As if that wasn’t sketchy enough, investigators learned about this previously undisclosed stop because it was caught on a privately owned camera. And here’s another shocker; the van driver has still not given a statement. This incident occurred nearly three weeks ago, and there’s no statement from the van driver? I believe that WTF? would be the only appropriate reaction to this. And then fate stepped in to further fuck up this situation. A security camera at a market on North Fremont Avenue and Mosher Street caught this unlogged stop on tape. Police copied that footage sometime (the owner guesses) on the week Gray died. The store owner’s copy of the footage was lost when the store was looted during the riots.
See what happens opportunistic looters? You may have just helped the police in crafting a more convenient story for themselves. Well played assholes, well played.
And here’s one more bombshell that we heard yesterday, independent of the source conveying what they heard in the briefing. A relative of one of the six officers involved in the arrest (before Gray was put in the van) believes that Gray was injured during the arrest. She wouldn’t go on record, so take her information in the context of a relative of one of the arresting officers, who doesn’t want to be known by name. She said, "Six officers did not injure this man. 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." She also said that they didn’t buckle Gray in because 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."
To which I say, if you figured out a way to catch him and get him in cuffs, you can figure out a way not to severely injure him the way you’ve already paralyzed at least two people by not buckling them in.
Isn’t perspective amazing? The only person in the country who would be concerned with cops being blamed for something they didn’t do, would have to be related to a cop. I mean seriously, the rest of us witness cops never being held accountable for what they did do, and this woman is worried about a mass incarceration of cops? Amazing.
And one last interesting piece of information. Five out of the six arresting officers have been interviewed by detectives. One invoked the right not to be questioned. Cops have a right not to be questioned? What the fuck is that horseshit? I’m pretty sure that the rest of us have no such right. We have a right to have an attorney present for questioning, but we aren’t afforded the privilege of skipping the interview process all together.
So this all seems to be getting more confusing with each passing day. It doesn’t look like we’re going to get anything official anytime soon. My guess is that since we haven’t heard anything official yet today, we’re not going to. I will be updating the situation as I get more information.