The defense attorneys for the six Baltimore cops charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray made two explosive claims in a court motion filed on Thursday.
According to The Baltimore Sun, the officers’ attorneys are claiming that the office of Baltimore city state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby has evidence that the 25-year-old Gray had “attempted to injure himself” in police custody prior to his April 12 arrest. They also claim that Mosby had a “private meeting” with the medical examiner who conducted Gray’s autopsy days before the report was released.
Mosby’s office has failed to turn that evidence over to the defense, the attorneys asserted.
“Based upon information and belief, the State’s Attorney’s Office was informed of this fact, yet failed to disclose to the Defendants any statements, reports, or other communications relating to this information,” the attorneys said of evidence that Gray has tried to harm himself during a previous arrest.
Prosecutors have also withheld “multiple witness statements from individuals who stated that Mr. Gray was banging and shaking the van at various points,” the defense claims, adding that they have also concealed “police reports, court records, and witness statements indicating that on prior occasions, Mr. Gray had fled from police and attempted to discard drugs.”
Gray was arrested after a foot chase with police. He reportedly began running after making eye contact with Lt. Brian Rice, one of the arresting officers. Gray had been arrested at least 18 times before, mostly for drug-related offenses. The official explanation for his arrest was that he was in possession of a spring-loaded knife.
The knife has been a source of controversy as well. During her very public announcement of charges against the officers on May 1, Mosby said that Gray’s arrest was illegal, in part, because the knife he had was legal in Maryland.
But the defense claims in its motion that even before Mosby made that public claim, she was told that the knife was, in fact, illegal in Baltimore.
Mosby also failed to disclose that she met privately with Carol Allan, the medical examiner who conducted Gray’s autopsy, the motion reads, according to The Sun.
When Mosby announced charges, she had received the results of the autopsy just hours before. Allan ruled Gray’s death a homicide. That allowed Mosby to slap serious charges on the officers involved in Gray’s arrest and van transport. Caesar Goodson, Jr., the driver of the police van, was charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder and manslaughter. Three other officers face manslaughter charges, too.
If the defense’s claims are true, Mosby’s case will have suffered a heavy blow.
Her case relies on the theory that the officers contributed to Gray’s death through “acts of omission.” They failed to properly restrain Gray in the back of the police van, and when Gray was calling for help, they failed to provide proper medical attention, the theory goes.
But if Gray has tried to hurt himself before — as the defense claims — the case will likely be made that he could have done the same thing on April 12. And if he did try to hurt himself in the back of the van, that would mean that the officers did not cause his death.
One witness has given a statement that he believed Gray was trying to harm himself in the back of the police van.
Donta Allen was arrested shortly after Gray and placed in a separate compartment in the police van. Allen reportedly gave a statement to investigators in which he said he heard Gray making loud banging noises. He also said the van ride was smooth, undermining claims made by some that Gray was the victim of a “rough ride.”
Allen retracted his claims, though, after they were made public.