Amanda Lee Myers?and David Dishneau
BALTIMORE: The refusal of authorities to provide more than a few sketchy details about the Freddie Gray investigation may be legally appropriate, but many people in Baltimore were finding it hard to be patient Thursday when police revealed nothing about the internal investigation they turned over to the state’s attorney’s office.
Nearly two weeks after Gray’s death, the public still doesn’t know much more than it did on Day One. The central question — what caused his fatal spinal cord injury — remains a mystery.
“The transparency is just not there,” the Rev. Cortly “C.D.” Witherspoon said after Police Commissioner Anthony Batts refused to answer any questions Thursday.
Batts said his department’s report was delivered a day ahead of time to State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, and that from now on, any questions should go to her.
Mosby also declined to talk, issuing a statement Thursday asking “for the public to remain patient and peaceful and to trust the process of the justice system.”
With rumors flying about how Gray’s spine was “80 percent severed,” as his family’s lawyer Billy Murphy put it, police did release a new piece of information Thursday, but it served mostly to raise more questions about how truthful the six suspended officers have been with investigators.
Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis said investigators discovered a security camera recording showing that the police van carrying Gray had made a previously undisclosed, second stop, after the 25-year-old black man was put in leg irons and before the van driver made a third stop and called for help to check on his condition. The van then made a fourth stop, to pick up another passenger, before Gray arrived at the police station with the fatal spinal-cord injury that left him unresponsive.
The Associated Press talked later Thursday with grocery store owner Jung Hyun Hwang, who said officers came in last week to make a copy. Speaking in Korean, he said the only other copy had been stolen, along with his video equipment, when looters destroyed his store Monday night. He told the AP that he didn’t see what the recording showed.
Police had said Gray was obviously injured and asking for medical help when he was hoisted into the van on April 12, and unresponsive on arrival at the station. He died in a hospital after a week in a coma.
Then, last week, Batts said the additional passenger who was picked up along the way had told investigators the driver did not speed, make sudden stops or “drive erratically” during the trip, and that Gray “was still moving around, that he was kicking and making noises” up until the van arrived at the police station.
The forensic pathologists who studied Gray’s body for clues aren’t making official statements.
Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman for the Maryland State Medical Examiner’s Office, said told the AP on Thursday that the office has completed Gray’s autopsy, but the forensic investigation, which includes lab tests, is still in process and no conclusions have been sent to police or prosecutors. When the report is complete, Goldfarb said, a copy will be sent to the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office.
Legal experts and the Gray family lawyers say secrecy is appropriate at this point in the investigation, when it’s possible that some witnesses haven’t been questioned, or even found.