INDIANAPOLIS, April 29, 2015 – The Washington Post is reporting that “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.”
The information comes from a police document written by a Baltimore police investigator and obtained by the Washington Post.
The report further states, “The prisoner, who is currently in jail, was separated from Gray by a metal partition and could not see him…”
The prisoner is not identified due to “fears for his safety.”
It may be that those in custody bang against walls of the police van. It may be that Freddie was trying to hurt himself; it may also be that he was just frustrated and making noise.
He had just been picked up and roughed up during the incident as seen in the videos of the arrest.
It is also possible that the police took Freddie on a “Nickel Ride,” which is defined by the Urban Dictionary as
“the act of police officers throwing suspects into the back of a police transporter. The suspects are left without restraints and are thrown around due to the reckless driving of the police, who intend to harm the suspect.”
What Freddie was banging with and what he was banging against have not been identified. He was handcuffed and in leg irons. The space inside the back of a police wagon is very limited. The walls are smooth. Had Freddie been able to launch himself against the walls with enough force to break his spine, one would believe the van walls would have suffered some serious denting.
Inside the back of a police wagon, there is little room to do anything but sit. It is difficult to imagine that there is enough space for someone in leg irons and handcuffs to create enough power to break his own neck or crush his voice box.
Watch this video and determine for yourself if you feel it was possible for a person in cuffs and irons to do anything other than sit on the bench or lie on the floor.
Note that the police officer in the right seat could easily see Gray, bringing into question whether the police officer upheld his responsibility to protect persons in custody.
The fact that Freddie was “banging” is something the police have asserted only after more than two weeks to prepare the “police document.” What could Freddie have been used to “bang”? The width is two-and-a-half feet, so it would be hard to kick the partition. If he banged his head against the partition or the wall, one would believe he would knock himself out well before he broke his own neck
Freddie was already in terrible pain, according to eyewitnesses at the scene of the pickup, who said he was “folded” before he was put into the van. Maybe he was just trying to get attention for his injuries, which were repeatedly ignored by the arresting officers.
The above video shows that Gray was not properly belted into the seat, which the police chief admitted. If he was not restrained because he was unable to sit up, the police would have had a responsibility to call for medical transport.
As more information about the incident emerges, so do more questions.
Why wasn’t Freddie belted into the seat? If he was unable to independently sit, why wasn’t a medical transport called?
Are there any photos of fresh marks or dents inside the van that police are stating weren’t there before Freddie was put inside?
Has any independent examiner or member of the media actually interviewed the prisoner who allegedly made the statements?
Were any deals made with that surviving prisoner for his or her testimony?
Why did it take over two weeks for the police to release such important information?
Has a forensic investigator been assigned to verify this report against the facts of Gray’s injuries?
While it is dangerous to form an opinion before all the information is available, this particular information stream does not make sense. And before media repeat the narrative until it becomes true, like “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” in the death of Michael Brown, we need to start asking questions.
Because this explanation for the injuries suffered by Gray make no common sense. In fact, this story stinks.