(CNN) — Police have handed their Freddie Gray investigative files over to prosecutors a day earlier than planned, police officials said Thursday, adding that newly discovered evidence in the case indicates the transport van made a previously unreported stop before delivering Gray to the precinct.
Investigators delivered their report early because “I understand the frustration. I understand the urgency,” police Commissioner Anthony Batts said.
In this story
- Transport van made a previously undisclosed stop while carrying Freddie Gray, police sa
- A prisoner in the same van said he thinks Gray was trying to hurt himself
- An officer involved in the arrest believes Gray was injured while being arrested
“This does not mean that the investigation is over. If new evidence is found, we will follow it,” he added. “Getting to the right answer is more important than speed.”
At the same press conference, Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis revealed for the first time that there was a fourth stop made between the time Gray was placed in the transport van and when he arrived at the police department’s Western District building.
Last week, Davis said there were three stops: the first to put leg irons on Gray, the second “to deal with Mr. Gray” (an incident, he said, that remained under investigation) and the third to pick up a prisoner in an unrelated matter.
The new stop, which “was discovered from a privately owned camera,” Davis said Thursday, came between the first and second stops.
The latest revelations came shortly after two new accounts of what happened to Gray emerged — threads that could offer clues as to where and when the man whose death sparked protests in Baltimore was fatally injured.
The first comes from a relative of one of the officers involved in the arrest. She told CNN the officer thinks Gray was injured while he was being arrested — before he was put inside a police van.
The second is an account from a prisoner who was in the same police van, as published in The Washington Post. The prisoner reportedly told investigators he thought Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself.”
Source: Officer believes Gray injured during arrest
The woman who spoke to CNN did so on the condition of anonymity. She is related to the officer but said the officer didn’t request the interview.
The relative said she worries all six of the officers who encountered Gray the day he was arrested will be incriminated when only some might be responsible.
“Six officers did not injure this man,” she told CNN’s Don Lemon. “Six officers didn’t put him in the hospital. I’m worried that instead of them figuring out who did, that six officers are going to be punished behind something that maybe one or two or even three officers may have done to Freddie Gray.”
She also told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the officer doesn’t know how Gray was injured but said he believes it happened during the arrest.
“He believes that Freddie Gray was injured outside the paddy wagon,” the relative said.
She also gave an explanation of why Gray was not buckled into the police van: He appeared belligerent.
“They didn’t want to reach over him. You were in a tight space in the paddy wagon. He’s already irate,” she said.
“He still has his teeth, and he still has his saliva. So in order to seat-belt somebody you have to get in their personal space. They’re not going to get in his personal space if he’s already irate.”
Batts, the police commissioner, has said Gray should have been buckled in.
“We know he was not buckled in the transport wagon, as he should’ve been. No excuses for that, period,” Batts said last week.
As for when Gray suffered a severe spinal injury, Batts said it could have happened either in or outside the police van. The 25-year-old died April 19, a week after his arrest.
Report: Gray was trying to hurt himself, prisoner says
The Washington Post account cites an investigative document written by a Baltimore police investigator.
In it, a prisoner who was in the same police van as Gray said he could hear Gray “banging against the walls” of the van and thought Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself.”
The prisoner was separated from Gray by a metal barrier and could not see him, police have said.
The account is similar to what Batts told CNN affiliate WJZ-TV last week when the police commissioner said another suspect in the van heard Gray “thrashing about.”
But Gray family attorney Jason Downs disputes the notion that Gray caused his own fatal injury.
“We disagree with any implication that Freddie Gray severed his own spinal cord,” Downs told the Post. “We question the accuracy of the police reports we’ve seen thus far, including the police report that says Mr. Gray was arrested without force or incident.”
An attorney for the local police union has said those moments in the van are critical to understanding the case.
“Our position is something happened in that van,” police union attorney Michael Davey said. “We just don’t know what.”
Regardless of what happened, the police commissioner said Gray should have gotten medical help sooner.
“We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times,” Batts said last week.
Police hand over investigation
The police handing over the files to the Baltimore County state’s attorney’s office hardly marks the end of the case, Batts said Thursday.
And don’t expect prosecutors to announce a decision about charges anytime soon.
“I think that the government officials need to advise people of how the process honestly works and to lower their expectations,” Gray family attorney Mary Koch said.
The state’s attorney for Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby, will decide whether charges should be filed against any of the six officers involved in the April 12 arrest.
Protests spread across the country
Wednesday night, protesters took to the streets Baltimore once again, demanding change and accountability for Gray’s death.
For the second night, a 10 p.m. curfew went into effect. And for the second night in a row, a crowd dissipated peacefully, preventing a repeat of Monday’s riots.
But a protest in New York turned out differently. Police said more than 100 people were arrested during a “NYC Rise Up & Shut It Down With Baltimore” rally.
In Denver, police made nine arrests during a similar protest Wednesday night. The charges include assault of a police officer, robbery, resisting police, disobedience to lawful orders, obstructing roadways and interference.
And more protests are slated over the next two days in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland, Oregon, and Oakland, California.