Disputed Leaks Try To Paint The Picture That Freddie Gray Killed Himself

A day after conservative bloggers had a field day speculating about how Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who suffered a severe spinal injury while in police custody, could have sustained that injury before he was arrested, conflicting news reports emerged about whether Gray injured himself inside a police transport van.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday night on an affidavit from a second arrestee who rode in a police transport van with Gray on April 12. The arrestee, whose name has not been publicly released, told investigators that he could hear Gray “banging against the walls” and thought he was deliberately trying to injure himself, according to the affidavit.

His statement, which was written by a police officer, appeared in a court-sealed search warrant for the uniform of one of the officers who arrested Gray, according to the Post. A spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department declined to comment to the newspaper on the document.

But Baltimore TV station WBAL pushed back on that report. According to the news station’s sources, Gray was unresponsive before the other arrestee was loaded into the van.

WBAL further noted that the police commissioner, Anthony Batts, has said previously that the second arrestee described Gray as quiet during the ride to the police station.

Reports on the results of Gray’s autopsy, which has not been publicly released, also conflicted.

Citing multiple anonymous law enforcement sources, Washington, D.C. television station WJLA reported Thursday that a preliminary autopsy found Gray was injured when he slammed into the back of the transport van, not during his videotaped arrest.

The autopsy found that a bolt in the back on the van was consistent with a “head injury” Gray sustained, according to the report. The news station further noted that it was “unclear whether Gray’s head injury was voluntary or was a result of some other action.”

Yet WBAL reported that an autopsy showed Gray had suffered a single, severe break in his spinal column.

Baltimore police announced Thursday that they’ve handed their investigation over to the state attorney’s office and do not plan to immediately release their findings to the public. They did reveal in a news conference that the transport van made one more stop than was previously known, however.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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