In memory… Freddie Gray
It looks like Baltimore police are trying to blame Freddie Gray for his own death.
Police and prosecutors are refusing to officially release information about the investigation into Freddie Gray’s death. But at the same time, someone just leaked a police document that quotes a prisoner who rode in the same van as Gray, saying that Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself.”1This anonymous leak almost certainly came from someone in the Baltimore police department.
It’s despicable. And it’s exactly the same type of victim-blaming we saw years ago when Baltimore police gave another Baltimore resident a “rough ride,” paralyzing him and eventually killing him in a hauntingly similar case.2
We’ve seen time and time again what happens when police are given the authority and political cover to police themselves. No transparency. No accountability. No prosecution. Unless Governor Hogan brings independent oversight to this case, we can expect the same familiar miscarriage of justice.3,4
Will you join nearly 40,000 ColorOfChange member in urging Governor Hogan to appoint Attorney General Frosh to assist the case against Freddie Gray’s killers?
The prisoner quoted in this leak was separated from Gray by a metal barrier, so he couldn’t have seen Gray. According to the leaked document, he claims he heard Gray banging on the walls, and that he thinks Gray was trying to hurt himself. But if Gray was banging on the walls, it could be because he was desperately trying to get help.5We already know that he had been requesting medical attention, and those requests were ignored.
And Gray might not have been banging on the walls at all. According to other versions of the story, Gray was unresponsive by the time the second person was loaded into the van.6Whatever happened, what’s clear is that this leak is an attempt to shape the story in a way that absolves police of responsibility — at a time when law enforcement is refusing to release other information about the case.
Nearly 40,000 ColorOfChange members are urging Governor Hogan to send Attorney General Frosh to support the investigation and prosecution of Freddie Gray’s death. This leak makes it clear that the current investigation cannot be trusted. Baltimore police and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby are heading down the same path of denied justice that has allowed Baltimore’s crisis of discriminatory police violence to flourish for years.
In 2014, 100% of people killed by Baltimore Police were Black. And almost none of those officers have ever been held accountable.7 Over the past 5 years, Baltimore police have paid millions to people injured and paralyzed by police “rough rides.”8 Freddie Gray was killed. And his family, Baltimore, and America have the right to an independent investigation that gets to the bottom of what happened and ensures the greatest measure of justice.
Take action to escalate pressure on Governor Hogan and build the widespread support we will need to win.
Thanks and peace,
— Rashad, Matt, Arisha, Lyla, Shani, and the rest of the ColorOfChange team
April 30th, 2015
1. “Prisoner in van said Freddie Gray was ‘trying to injure himself,’ document says,” Washington Post 4-29-2015
2. “Freddie Gray not the first to come out of Baltimore police van with serious injuries,” The Baltimore Sun Post 04-23-2015
3. “Police Kill Black Women All The Time, Too — We Just Don’t Hear About It,” Bustle 12-08-2014
4. “Why I Don’t Trust Baltimore Prosecutors with Freddie Gray Case,” Legal Speaks 4-22-2015
5. “Prisoner Was Wrong: Freddie Gray Didn’t Kill Himself,” Daily Beast, 4-30-2015
6. “Baltimore Cop’s Relative Claims Freddie Gray Was Injured Before He Got In Van,” Daily Beast, 4-30-2015
8. “Baltimore’s “rough rides”: the city has paid out millions to people injured in police vans,” Vox, 04-28-2015
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