And yet again, police officers — this time its Baltimore Police involved in the Freddie Gray arrest and transport — are faced with video evidence that suggests they have lied. As the investigation into the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray continues, the department has turned over the case files to the prosecutor’s office earlier than expected, providing another detail that further paints the situation a bit darker than it was before. The van Gray was transported in stopped at least four times. But only three were reported. However, the fourth was caught on video…
CNN reported April 30 that the investigation files into the Freddie Gray arrest and transport, a series of incidents that would lead to the young man’s hospitalization and eventual death, were turned over to the prosecutor’s office a day earlier than scheduled. Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said they did so because he understood “the urgency” of the situation.
At the same time, it was admitted that the police van that transported Freddie Gray stopped a fourth time on its circuitous route to the police station on April 12. That stop was not mentioned in the official police report, nor by anyone else connected to or commenting on the case. But a video “discovered from a privately owned camera,” according to Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis, captured the police van immobile at still yet another location along its route.
Davis announced at a press conference last week that the police van transporting Freddie Gray had made only three stops: The first to put leg irons on Gray; the second “to deal with Mr. Gray” (an incident, Davis said, that was still under investigation); and the third to pick up a prisoner in an unrelated matter.
Freddie Gray was arrested, according to a timeline constructed by the Baltimore Sun, and placed in a police van for transport on April 12. Less than an hour later, after several entreaties to the accompanying officers for medical assistance (none of which were answered), he arrived at the police station, where paramedics were then called to administer aid. He was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where it was determined that he had somehow suffered three fractured vertebrae and a crushed larynx. During emergency surgery, he slipped into a coma. Gray died seven days later, April 19.
Since his death, the people of Baltimore have demanded answers to the circumstances surrounding his arrest, his transport, the administration of medical treatment (or lack thereof), and the young man’s subsequent death. In protest to what appeared to be just another police brutality incident perpetrated against yet another black man, demonstrations were held. Although at first peaceful, over the weekend, the protests became more violent. And on Monday, after a social media-inspired protest was called for, events spiraled into a full-fledged riot, causing the mayor of Baltimore and the governor of Maryland to declare a state of emergency, send in national guardsmen, and establish a curfew.
The added detail of the fourth stop may or may not have had anything to do with Gray’s injuries. Police have reported that he had become irate, that he had to be placed in leg irons. But just like the detail in the initial police report that he was arrested without incident, the little details have become the devil to explain.
Said detail surfaced via a video from an independent source, yet another instance of video footage brought forward recently to indicate a contradicting story to that of official police reports. In North Charleston, South Carolina, a video taken from a cellphone camera led to the arrest of an officer who shot Walter Scott five times on April 4 as he was fleeing, contradicting the officer’s story that he had shot him in a struggle and when Scott had attempted to take his gun. And in an investigation into police shooting incidents in Palm Beach County, Florida, an actual police dash cam video of a 2013 shooting of an unarmed black man was uncovered and revealed this past week that was totally at odds with an arresting officer’s official police report.