The report claims an anonymous prisoner, who shared the police van with Freddie Gray on April 12, heard “banging against the walls” and assumes Gray was trying to hurt himself.
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 prisoner, who is currently in jail, was separated from Gray by a metal partition and could not see him. His statement is contained in an application for a search warrant, which is sealed by the court. The Post was given the document under the condition that the prisoner not be named because the person who provided it feared for the inmate’s safety.
Jason Downs, one of Gray’s family’s attorney, spoke out, questioning the veracity of this report.
“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.”
While the downright absurdity Gray was trying to hurt himself is enough to cause skepticism, the claim also goes against previous police narratives as Mother Jones notes.
WBAL's Jayne Miller addressed on Twitter how this new information conflicts with earlier police reports.
BPD Commissioner Anthony Batts on 4/23 told us second prisoner in police van said Freddie Gray was "mostly quiet". ..— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) April 30, 2015
We have reported that when van stopped to pick up 2nd prisoner, sources say, Gray was unresponsive. No evidence banging head against van— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) April 30, 2015
Other analyses indicated Gray could have been injured by police “rough rides”, where an arrested suspect is unrestrained and banging back and forth inside a police van. Since the unidentified passenger could not see Gray, it is highly possible Gray was left unbuckled causing him to slide back and forth inside the van, therefore answering what the “banging against the walls” was that the passenger was hearing.
Information surrounding Gray’s arrest and death still remains a complete mystery and ambiguous at best, but reports like this one feel more like an attempt by police (the report was written by a police investigator) to cover up a suspect’s death in their custody.