Scant Details from Gray Death Probe Disappoint Protesters - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Scant Details from Gray Death Probe Disappoint Protesters

Posted:
BALTIMORE (AP) - 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 next to nothing about the criminal 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."

A coalition of news media organizations, including The Associated Press, sent a letter Thursday evening to the Baltimore Police Department seeking the immediate release of the report as information that would serve the public interest.

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 "was still moving around, that he was kicking and making noises" up until the van arrived at the police station.

Baltimore police have been less forthcoming than police in Ferguson, Missouri, after white officer Darren Wilson fatally shot a black man, 18-year-old, Michael Brown, last year in an incident officially deemed self-defense. For example, Baltimore police haven't publicly revealed the suspended officers' races or disciplinary histories.

Beyond the slim chronology, authorities have refused to discuss evidence, such as the details of his handling to statements from any of the six suspended officers. Their names are known only because the AP and other news organizations filed public records requests for the documents police filed seeking to have Gray charged with carrying a switchblade.

"I understand there are questions people want to have answered, but unfortunately, we can't release any more about it," Capt. J. Eric Kowalczyk said.

The forensic pathologists who studied Gray's body for clues also aren't making official statements.

Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman for the Maryland State Medical Examiner's Office, told the AP Thursday that the office has completed Gray's autopsy, but the forensic investigation 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.

"The autopsy has been done, it only takes about two and a half hours," Goldfarb said. "The autopsy is only one part of the forensic investigation. The whole point is to determine cause and manner of death, and there are lab tests and lots of other things that have to be done."

Legal experts and the Gray family lawyers say secrecy is appropriate at this point in the probe, when it's still possible that some witnesses haven't been questioned, or even found.

"By releasing too many details, you run the risk that witnesses' testimony will change to mirror the details you have released," said David S. Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice in Miami. He said investigators must verify or corroborate much of the information they receive, and meanwhile the public could be misled that the probe is leading to a particular outcome.

Investigators also face challenges with police that are different from killings by civilians. There's the question of whether an officer acted "reasonably" considering the circumstances - a common defense in use-of-force cases. And investigators can't simply force officers to give statements or lose their jobs, because that would mean their testimony is coerced, and therefore wouldn't hold up in court, Weinstein said.

"If they are compelled to give a statement as a condition of their employment, you cannot then use those statements against them in a criminal proceeding," he said. "This is where the decision to grant immunity comes into play."

The Gray family's lawyers sought to dispel the idea that the police report would be made public at this point.

"This family wants justice, and they want justice that comes at the right time and not too soon," attorney Hassan Murphy said Wednesday.

People are right to demand transparency, but the appropriate time for disclosure is either during a trial, if charges are filed, or when prosecutors announce no indictments, said Steve Levin, a former federal prosecutor in Baltimore who now works as a defense attorney.

The voracious 24-hour news cycle is another factor, especially so when civil unrest and violence are involved. Saturating the public with information prior to filing criminal charges also can make it extremely difficult to seat an impartial jury later, said Robert Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University.

"It makes it appear that they are not doing anything, which leads to unfounded criticism and can rush law enforcement into ill-considered action," Jarvis said.

Meanwhile, protests over Gray's death are spreading and continuing. Crowds gathered Thursday in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Other protests led to arrests in New York and elsewhere.
  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Sex Trafficking Case Dropped Against Delaware Ex-Death Row Inmate

    Sex Trafficking Case Dropped Against Delaware Ex-Death Row Inmate

    Tuesday, November 13 2018 10:24 PM EST2018-11-14 03:24:31 GMT
    Tuesday, November 13 2018 10:24 PM EST2018-11-14 03:24:31 GMT
    Sex trafficking charges in Hawaii were dismissed Tuesday against a former death row inmate from Delaware, allowing him to walk of court a free man again.More
    Sex trafficking charges in Hawaii were dismissed Tuesday against a former death row inmate from Delaware, allowing him to walk of court a free man again.More
  • Brandywine Valley SPCA Offers Safe Haven For Dogs in Sussex

    Brandywine Valley SPCA Offers Safe Haven For Dogs in Sussex

    Tuesday, November 13 2018 9:35 PM EST2018-11-14 02:35:41 GMT
    Tuesday, November 13 2018 9:36 PM EST2018-11-14 02:36:29 GMT
    Boris is among the four dogs brought to the Brandywine Valley SPCA's adoption center in Dover.Boris is among the four dogs brought to the Brandywine Valley SPCA's adoption center in Dover.
    Boris is among the four dogs brought to the Brandywine Valley SPCA's adoption center in Dover.Boris is among the four dogs brought to the Brandywine Valley SPCA's adoption center in Dover.
    The Brandywine Valley SPCA has launched a new program called, A Place for Your Pet.More
    The Brandywine Valley SPCA has launched a new program called, A Place for Your Pet.  More
  • Co-Defendants Take Stand in Vaughn Prison Riot Trial

    Co-Defendants Take Stand in Vaughn Prison Riot Trial

    Tuesday, November 13 2018 8:55 PM EST2018-11-14 01:55:39 GMT
    Tuesday, November 13 2018 8:55 PM EST2018-11-14 01:55:39 GMT
    The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. (WBOC/Chopper 16)The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. (WBOC/Chopper 16)
    The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. (WBOC/Chopper 16)The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. (WBOC/Chopper 16)
    WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A Delaware inmate charged in a deadly prison riot testified Tuesday that he did not assault or kill anyone, and that he was expecting inmates to stage a peaceful protest about prison conditions.More
    WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A Delaware inmate charged in a deadly prison riot testified Tuesday that he did not assault or kill anyone, and that he was expecting inmates to stage a peaceful protest about prison conditions.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Receptionist

    Receptionist

    WBOC has an immediate opening for a receptionist. 

    More

    WBOC has an immediate opening for a receptionist. 

    More
  • Couple Rescued After Sailboat Runs Aground in Ocean City

    Sailboat Runs Aground in Ocean City

    Sunday, November 11 2018 8:33 PM EST2018-11-12 01:33:05 GMT
    Monday, November 12 2018 7:27 AM EST2018-11-12 12:27:43 GMT
    The Ocean City Fire Department rescued a man and woman after their boat ran aground late Saturday night.More
    The Ocean City Fire Department rescued a man and woman after their boat ran aground late Saturday night.More
  • Dover Woman Reported Missing, Police Seeking Info from Public

    Dover Woman Reported Missing, Police Seeking Info from Public

    Tuesday, November 13 2018 9:56 AM EST2018-11-13 14:56:22 GMT
    Tuesday, November 13 2018 9:56 AM EST2018-11-13 14:56:22 GMT
    DOVER, Del. - Police are asking for the public's help in finding a 20-year-old woman from Dover whose family has reported her missing. According to police, Ahyanna Baker-Griffin was last seen leaving her home on South Queen Street with her boyfriend DishiMore
    DOVER, Del. - Police are asking for the public's help in finding a 20-year-old woman from Dover whose family has reported her missing. According to police, Ahyanna Baker-Griffin was last seen leaving her home on South Queen Street with her boyfriend DishiMore
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • WBOC Morning Weather: Nov. 13, 2018

    WBOC Morning Weather: Nov. 13, 2018

  • Phillips Packing House Named One of Six in Maryland to "Fix"

    Phillips Packing House Named One of Six in Maryland to "Fix"

    Conservationists call it a "threatened historic place." The Phillips Packing House in Cambridge was built in the 1920s. At its peak, nearly 10,000 employees packed vegetables and shucked oysters inside its factory. But after closing in the 60's, the building and its two, towering smokestacks have sat untouched. But now, a new initiative aims to restore the Phillips Packing House as soon as this year.

    More

    Conservationists call it a "threatened historic place." The Phillips Packing House in Cambridge was built in the 1920s. At its peak, nearly 10,000 employees packed vegetables and shucked oysters inside its factory. But after closing in the 60's, the building and its two, towering smokestacks have sat untouched. But now, a new initiative aims to restore the Phillips Packing House as soon as this year.

    More
  • Dangerous Driving Observed Near Harbeson Daycare

    Dangerous Driving Observed Near Harbeson Daycare

    Parents and staff at the Lullaby Learning Center say illegal speeding on the Route Nine shoulder is putting their children at risk.

    "We are seeing people pull into the shoulder and just book it up the road at 55 and upwards," explains owner Sheri Gebbia. "This is precious, precious cargo that people just aren't looking out for."

    More

    Parents and staff at the Lullaby Learning Center say illegal speeding on the Route Nine shoulder is putting their children at risk.

    "We are seeing people pull into the shoulder and just book it up the road at 55 and upwards," explains owner Sheri Gebbia. "This is precious, precious cargo that people just aren't looking out for."

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices