Apr 30, 2015
The police van that carried 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who would die of injuries sustained during his arrest one week later, made a previously undisclosed stop on its way to the station, according to the Baltimore Police Department's initial findings, turned over to the state attorney's office on Thursday.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the department handed over its investigation one day earlier than expected because it had "exhausted every lead" in the investigation. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts reportedly said 30 officers worked around the clock to complete the work because of a "sense of urgency" regarding the case.
According to the Sun, "the announcement did not bring the release of any reports or findings," with the exception of the previously unknown van stop.
The New York Times reports:
The new stop turned up on video taken from "a privately owned camera," Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis said, and it was "previously unknown to us." That suggested that the officers involved had not told investigators about it.
The Sun explained further:
Jung Hwang, owner of CR Market at Mosher and N. Fremont, said Thursday that police copied footage from the store's surveillance camera system. Hwang said he did not see the footage or the van carrying Gray...adding that his camera and video were since taken during looting that followed Monday's rioting in the city.
And Vice News adds:
According to all official accounts before today, the van reportedly stopped three times during the 30-minute ride to a district police station. The first of those stops was made so that officers could cuff irons onto Gray's legs. During the second stop, Gray reportedly asked police for medical attention, which he did not receive. In the third stop, the prisoner -- accused of violating a protective order -- was introduced into the van, separated from Gray by a metal partition. The two men reportedly could not see each other.
But on Thursday, Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis, who led the police investigation, told reporters a fourth stop was made after the second stop and before the time they picked up the second prisoner.
Now, it is up to State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby to determine whether charges will be brought against any of the six suspended officers involved in Gray's arrest. She has not set a timetable for that decision, and while Mosby confirmed that she had received the files, she stressed that her office's investigation is independent of police.
"While we have and will continue to leverage the information received by the department, we are not relying solely on their findings but rather the facts that we have gathered and verified," Mosby said. "We ask for the public to remain patient and peaceful and to trust the process of the justice system."
USA Todaynotes that the latest development "comes amid a disputed allegation that a prisoner sharing a police van with Gray...heard him intentionally trying to injure himself." The Washington Post brought that statement to light in reporting on Wednesday.
But the New York Daily Newsspoke with one spine surgeon who said Gray "could not have severed his spinal cord by hurling himself into a police van wall."
According to the Daily News:
"You don't become paralyzed, you don't go into a coma from slamming yourself into a van door," Dr. David Matusz, a spine surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital, told the Daily News. "Throwing your shoulder or head against the wall is not going to produce a fatal injury."
Matusz said even most pre-existing spinal conditions could not turn fatal with low-force trauma. Typically, deadly spine injures are sustained in high-speed car accidents and falls from significant heights.
The Baltimore Sun reports that "[o]f the six suspended officers--Lt. Brian Rice, Sgt. Alicia White, and Officers William Porter, Garrett Miller, Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson Jr.--five have provided statements to police officials. Police have not said which officer has refused. The police union has defended the actions of all those involved."
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