[There was a video here]
“Whatever happened” to Freddie Gray happened “before he was transported,” the family member of one of the officers involved told CNN Wednesday night—just hours after a report was leaked to the Washington Post alleging Gray intentionally injured himself in the transport van.
Gray died April 19, a week after his spinal cord was severely torn while he was in police custody. Three days after his funeral, it’s still unclear whether that injury was sustained during the arrest or during his transfer to jail.
Both of the accounts broke Wednesday night; the Post’s prisoner story posted around 9 pm and although CNN’s interview was pre-taped, it didn’t run until around 11. Their conclusions contradict one another, but both versions of the story seem to shift the blame away from the transporting officers.
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,” according to a police document obtained by The Washington Post.
The prisoner, who is currently in jail, was separated from Gray by a metal partition and could not see him. His statement is contained in an application for a search warrant, which is sealed by the court. The Post was given the document under the condition that the prisoner not be named because the person who provided it feared for the inmate’s safety.
The relative, whose face was blurred out by CNN, agreed that Gray was “irate” in the van. But she tells Don Lemon she came forward because her cop relative told her the injuries “happened before [Gray] was transported,” likely caused by the arresting officers using excessive force.
She does admit that Gray wasn’t provided a seatbelt in the van, calling it an “unwritten, unspoken rule that when someone is irate in the paddywagon, you don’t reach over someone that’s irate” but emphasized that she thinks the arresting officers are hiding something. [In fact, new departmental policies issued just days before Gray’s death mandated seatbelts for all prisoners.]
How can anyone say that it was a rough enough ride for this gentleman to be as injured as he was. And if he was injured in the wagon, then why wasn’t the other gentleman injured as well when he was giving a statement. Why can’t they figure out whether this gentleman was injured when he was being chased, or where he was injured? There are a million cameras e verywhere.
[Lemon asks why she thinks there might be a cover-up]
Because if they come out and they tell the whole story then what do they do about all of the stuff that’s transpired up until this point? There’s been a riot, there’s now a curfew.
Before the interview abruptly cut off, the relative also denied allegations that the transporting officers gave Gray a “rough ride,” saying those officers weren’t involved in the arrest and had no reason to harm him.