by Holly Yan
WASHINGTON — The task force in charge of investigating the death of Freddie Gray has given its report to prosecutors, Baltimore police Commissioner Anthony Batts said. “This does not mean that the investigation is over. If new evidence is found,” we will follow it, Batts said.
Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis also revealed for the first time that there was an additional stop made between the time Gray was placed in the transport van and when he arrived at the police department’s Western District building.
Two new accounts of what happened to Freddie Gray in his encounter with police have emerged — threads that could offer clues as to where and when the man whose death sparked protests in Baltimore was fatally injured.
The first comes from a relative of one of the officers involved in the arrest. She told CNN the officer thinks Gray was injured while he was being arrested — before he was put inside a police van.
The second is an account from a prisoner who was in the same police van, as published in The Washington Post. The prisoner reportedly told investigators he thought Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself.”
The new twists come just before Baltimore police are set to give to state prosecutors the results of their investigation into Gray’s arrest and death. The state’s attorney for Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby, will decide whether charges should be filed against any of the six officers involved in the April 12 arrest.
Source: Officer believes Gray injured during arrest
The woman who spoke to CNN did so on the condition of anonymity. She is related to the officer but said the officer didn’t request the interview.
The relative said she worries all six of the officers who encountered Gray the day he was arrested will be incriminated when only some might be responsible.
“Six officers did not injure this man,” she told CNN’s Don Lemon. “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 told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the officer doesn’t know how Gray was injured but said he believes it happened during the arrest.
“He believes that Freddie Gray was injured outside the paddy wagon,” the relative said.
She also gave an explanation of why Gray was not buckled into the police van: He appeared 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.”
Baltimore police Commissioner Anthony Batts has said 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 Gray suffered a severe spinal injury, Batts said it could have happened either in or outside the police van. The 25-year-old died April 19, a week after his arrest.
Report: Gray was trying to hurt himself, prisoner says
The Washington Post account cites an investigative document written by a Baltimore police investigator.
In it, a prisoner who was in the same police van as Gray said he could hear Gray “banging against the walls” of the van and thought Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself.”
The prisoner was separated from Gray by a metal barrier and could not see him, police have said.
The account is similar to what Batts told CNN affiliate WJZ-TV last week when the police commissioner said another suspect in the van heard Gray “thrashing about.”
But Gray family attorney Jason Downs disputes the notion that Gray caused his own fatal injury.
“We disagree with any implication that Freddie Gray severed his own spinal cord,” Downs told the Post. “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.”
An attorney for the local police union has said those moments in the van are critical to understanding the case.
“Our position is something happened in that van,” police union attorney Michael Davey said. “We just don’t know what.”
Regardless of what happened, the police commissioner said Gray should have gotten medical help sooner.
“We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times,” Batts said last week.
Police to hand over investigation
The police’s plan to hand over findings from their investigation to the Baltimore state’s attorney office Friday is far from the end of the case.
“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.”
And 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.”
Protests spread across the country
Wednesday night, protesters took to the streets Baltimore once again, demanding change and accountability for Gray’s death.
For the second night, a 10 p.m. curfew went into effect. And for the second night in a row, a crowd dissipated peacefully, preventing a repeat of Monday’s riots.
But a protest in New York turned out differently. Police said more than 100 people were arrested during a “NYC Rise Up & Shut It Down With Baltimore” rally.
In Denver, police made nine arrests during a similar protest Wednesday night. The charges include assault of a police officer, robbery, resisting police, disobedience to lawful orders, obstructing roadways and interference.
And more protests are slated over the next two days in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland, Oregon, and Oakland, California.