BALTIMORE (MEDIA GENERAL) – Two people have come forward giving new accounts of what happened during Freddie Gray’s arrest and what may have caused his fatal spinal cord injury.
According to a woman close to one of the arresting officers, Gray was injured in the process of being arrested, but before he was put inside the police van.
The woman, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity, said the officer didn’t know how Gray was hurt during the arrest, but said Gray was not buckled into the police van because he was belligerent.
“They didn’t want to reach over him. You were in a tight space in the paddy wagon. He’s already irate,” the woman told CNN. “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 there was potential that Gray’s injury could have come either inside or outside the police van, and that regardless of his actions, Gray should have been wearing a seat belt.
“We know he was not buckled in the transport wagon, as he should’ve been. No excuses for that, period,” Batts said.
On Thursday, The Washington Post cites an investigative document where a prisoner who was in the same police van as Gray said he heard Gray “banging against the walls” and that he thought Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself.”
The account is similar to one Batts gave last week when the police commissioner said a prisoner heard Gray “thrashing about.”
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 Washington 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.”
Baltimore police are expected to release their investigation to state prosecutors Friday. State prosecutors will decide whether charges will be filed against any officers.
Batts warned the investigation is far from over.
“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 last week. “That is just us sitting down, providing all the data we have. We will continue to follow the evidence wherever it goes.”