A videotaped police interview exists in which the man who rode in the back of a Baltimore police van with Freddie Gray claims that the 25-year-old was banging his head and “sounded like a madman.”
The recorded interview, with 22-year-old Donta Allen, is part of 300,000 pieces of evidence that the Baltimore city state’s attorney has turned over to the attorneys for the six cops charged in the case, Megyn Kelly, the host of Fox’s “The Kelly File,” said on Monday.
“A source close to the case is telling us there is actual videotape of Donta Allen telling police that Freddie Gray was repeatedly banging his head against the van, that he sounded like a madman and that the was asking himself why cops would put him in the van with a crazy person,” Kelly said.
If true, Allen’s statement would throw a major wrench in the case against the officers, who face charges ranging from misconduct to second-degree depraved-heart murder. Gray’s death was ruled a homicide because of “acts of omission” on the part of the officers, a medical examiner determined. Officers did not restrain Gray with a seatbelt after placing him in the van following his April 12 arrest.
Allen has been a major source of confusion so far in the case. In late April, days before charges were announced against the officers, The Washington Post reported that a second prisoner in Gray’s van told investigators he heard Gray banging his head against the van wall. But The Post’s report — which did not identify Allen — incorrectly stated that the other prisoner was 38 years old. (RELATED: This Report Could Change The Freddie Gray Narrative)
The day after The Post’s story, Allen gave several on-camera interviews disputing it. He denied that he was a snitch and said that the police van ride was smooth and that he heard only a “little banging for about four seconds.”
But Kelly’s report brings Allen’s role in the case back to square one. “Tonight we learn that The Washington Post was right,” she said, siting sources familiar with the investigation.
Whatever Allen’s statements to investigators, many other questions remain, including about the timeline of stops that the police van made on the way between the site of Gray’s arrest and the police station.
Carol Allan, the medical examiner who conducted Gray’s autopsy, determined that Gray likely sustained his fatal injuries between the second and fourth stops. That would have been before Allen was put in the van. He was arrested during the van’s fifth stop. (RELATED: Freddie Gray’s Autopsy)
The medical examiner’s determination could be in line with Allen’s statement to reporters that he heard very little noise from Gray. But it would be inconsistent with what he allegedly told investigators. In her report, Allan made note of Allen’s statements to police that he heard Gray banging and kicking in the van. But she seems to have discounted that statement and instead based her determination on officers’ actions at each of the van stops. (RELATED: Law Professor: Freddie Gray’s Autopsy Is ‘Very, Very Helpful’ To The Defense)
Allan also surmised that a handcuffed and shackled Gray could have gotten to his feet in the back of the van and that he could have injured himself against the wall if the van turned a sharp corner or suddenly decelerated. That finding, which is consistent with an accident, would be at odds with Allen’s alleged claim that Gray was trying to injure himself.