The recent unrest in Baltimore is the result of many factors which stretch back generations, but the recent tumult is largely tied to the death of one man: Freddie Gray.
By now, the basic details are no doubt familiar: the 25-year-old Gray was arrested two weeks ago, reportedly on a weapons charge, and then died a week later. According to family attorneys, Gray’s death was the result of a severed spine, which local officials have not yet explained.
Last night, the Washington Post reported on a leaked document, written by a Baltimore police investigator, that takes the story in a rather striking direction.
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.
Though the claims are extraordinarily hard to believe, this is the first tidbit of information the public has received from inside the official investigation into Gray’s death.
As Rachel noted on the show last night, “Leaks like this always serve somebody’s purpose. We have no idea who gave this to the Washington Post or what their interests are in having done so.”
An attorney representing the Gray family said in a statement, “We disagree with any implication that Freddie severed his own spinal cord.”
What’s more, WBAL investigative reporter Jayne Miller talked to msnbc’s Chris Hayes last night and disputed this version of events. “According to our sources by the time that prisoner is loaded into that van Freddie Gray was unresponsive,” Miller said. “Secondly, we have reported [there] is no evidence, medical evidence that Freddie Gray suffered any injury that indicate that he injured himself.”
Note, Baltimore police officials have said they will give a local prosecutor a preliminary report on the investigation into Gray’s death tomorrow, May 1, but those initial findings will not be made public.
In other words, all we have to go on by way of Baltimore law enforcement, at this point, is this leaked document pointing to a theory that strains credulity.