A prisoner who was in a police van with Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man whose death set off Monday’s riots, said Gray might have been “intentionally trying to injure himself” in the vehicle, according to a police report obtained by the Washington Post.
If true, this could blow to shreds the protesters’ entire theory — that police misconduct was solely to blame for Gray’s death.
The report was the lead item on “The Kelly File” Wednesday.
The unidentified prisoner who shared the van with Gray said he could hear Gray “banging against the walls,” although he could not see him because the two men were separated by a metal partition, according to the Post.
The document, written by a Baltimore police investigator, offers the first glimpse of what might have happened inside the van. It is not clear whether any additional evidence backs up the prisoner’s version, which is just one piece of a much larger probe.
Gray was found unconscious in the wagon when it arrived at a police station on April 12. The 25-year-old had suffered a spinal injury and died a week later, touching off waves of protests across Baltimore, capped by a riot Monday in which hundreds of angry residents torched buildings, looted stores and pelted police officers with rocks.
The Post quoted a Gray family attorney who disputed the report’s version of events:
Jason Downs, one of the attorneys for the Gray family, said the family had not been told of the prisoner’s comments to investigators.
“We disagree with any implication that Freddie Gray severed his own spinal cord,” Downs said. “We question the accuracy of the police reports we’ve seen thus far, including the police report that says Mr. Gray was arrested without force or incident.”
Fox News host Megyn Kelly brought two guests on Wednesday to discuss these new developments in the case.
Former Los Angeles homicide detective Mark Furman told Kelly that there were a lot of opportunities for Gray to have injured himself, apart from any police involvement.
“There was a mile-long foot pursuit, so we don’t know what Freddie Gray did, what he jumped over, fell over or what he ran into,” Furman said. “And now we hear this.”
He concluded “this is so far short of a murder charge,” and noted that “there wasn’t even an altercation with the officers.”
Trial lawyer Wendell Brown cautioned against rushing to judgement exonerating the police, and emphasized that all the facts weren’t in yet.
He surmised that his injuries could have been the result of “brutality before he got in the van,” exacerbated by the van’s “rough ride” leading ultimately to his death.
On that basis, the police could be charged with “involuntary manslaughter, or even murder,” Brown claimed.
Furman said that without more evidence, it would be problematic to charge the officers of criminal behavior, “let alone convict.”
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