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Disputed Report: Freddie Gray Hurt Himself in Police Van?

A report in the Washington Post claims another prisoner heard Gray "banging against the walls" of a police van.
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/ Source: NBC News

Might Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man whose death in police custody set off protests that spiraled into riots, have injured himself?

The Washington Post on Wednesday evening published an article that states that a unidentified prisoner who was also in the back of a police van with Gray claimed he could hear Gray "banging against the walls" and "was intentionally trying to injure himself."

The prisoner's tale comes via a police document obtained by the Post, in which the statement is included on an application for a search warrant, which is currently sealed. The prisoner could not actually see Gray, according to the report.

A spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department said he couldn't discuss a sealed document.

NBC affiliate WBAL reporter Jayne Miller told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell that the Washington Post article's timeline "doesn't match" their reporting.

Gray died in a hospital on April 19, a week after suffering a spinal cord injury while in police custody following his arrest on April 12, officials said.

Cops started chasing Gray because he gave them a look and then started running, police have said. He allegedly had a switch-blade on him when he was caught. Cell-phone video showing Gray being taken into the police van seemed to indicate that he couldn't fully use his legs.

A lawyer for the Gray family told the Post they hadn't been told about the other prisoner's comments.

"We disagree with any implication that Freddie Gray severed his own spinal cord," attorney Jason Downs told the newspaper. "We question the accuracy of the police reports we'v'e seen thus far, including the police report that says Mr. Gray was arrested without force or incident."

Keeping that in mind, it's entirely possible that Gray was banging on the walls to get attention for his injuries, or somehow trying to help himself.

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts had set a deadline of Friday to file a investigative report on Gray's death with state investigators. But Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said late Wednesday afternoon that the report would remain closed to protect the integrity of the inquiry.


— Hasani Gittens