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Crime & Justiceby Mark Reutter and Fern Shen7:45 pmApr 30, 20150

New clue in Freddie Gray case: undisclosed stop by the police wagon

A surveillance camera at a grocery store picked up footage of a previously-unknown stop by the wagon that carried Freddie Gray, police disclose – then say no more

Above: CR Market, at Mosher and Fremont, where video footage picked up the police wagon carrying Freddie Gray.

On a desolate stretch of West Baltimore, a lone grocery store picked up footage from its security cameras showing that the police wagon carrying Freddie Gray made a previously undisclosed stop near the building.

The corner of Mosher Street and Fremont Avenue – where CR Market stands as an island in a sea of vacant lots – was cited today as the fourth stop made by the Baltimore Police van that carried the 25-year-old from his arrest on Presbury Street to the Western District station, where medics found him unresponsive and not breathing.

Previously, police said the van made only three intermediate stops. Once for officers to put leg irons on an “irate” Gray at Mount and Baker streets. Once to call in an officer to “check on” Gray at Dolphin Street and Druid Hill Avenue. And once to pick up “a witness in the criminal investigation” on North Avenue

After his 45-minute ride, Gray was found to have suffered severe injuries to his spine and voice box that led to his death a week later.

“When Mr. Gray was placed inside that van, he was able to talk. He was upset. And when Mr. Gray was taken out of that van, he could not talk and he could not breathe,” Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said last week.

Today, in announcing that they had turned over the results of their investigation into Gray’s death to the state’s attorney’s office, Commissioner Anthony Batts and his staff declined to give the possible significance of the fourth stop.

What Are You Telling Us?

Six officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, but Batts said it is up to state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby to determine whether criminal charges are to be made.

“Are you all telling us that the arresting officers covered up or lied about stopping that police van [on Fremont and Mosher] after Freddie Gray was inside that vehicle,” asked a reporter to Capt. J. Eric Kowalczyk, the police spokesman.

“What I will tell you,” Kowalczyk answered, “is that we’ve stated from the beginning when we have information to share, we will. And as the Commissioner said today, it would be inappropriate for us to further comment on the status of the investigation. It is now in the hands of the state’s attorney.”

Maj. Stanley Branford, chief of the homicide division, and Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis announce turning over the Gray investigation to the state's attorney's office. (Baltimore Police Department)

Maj. Stanley Brandford, chief of the homicide division, and Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis announce the turning over of the Gray investigation to the state’s attorney’s office. (Baltimore Police Department)

The charging document describing Gray’s arrest, written by one of the police officers placed on leave, gives a one-sentence description of the wagon ride: “During transport to Western District via Wagon the Defendant suffered a medical emergency and was immediately transported to Shock Trauma via Medic.”

Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis today said the undisclosed stop by the wagon was “revealed to us during the course of our investigation and was previously unknown to us. We discovered this new stop based on our thorough and comprehensive and ongoing review of all CCTV cameras and privately owned cameras. This new stop was discovered from a privately owned camera. So the new stop by our wagon was at Fremont and Mosher.”

CR Market is the only business at that intersection. Today two security cameras could be seen above the front entrance to the store, unplugged. The store was padlocked this afternoon; it reportedly suffered damage from the civil disturbances that erupted after Freddie Gray’s funeral on Monday.

Several residents said the store is never open on Sundays, so there would not likely be anybody, store clerk or customer, inside the building on Sunday, April 12, when the police wagon carrying Gray stopped within range of the cameras.

The security cameras, today unplugged, that police say picked up footage of the police van carrying Freddie Gray. (Photo by Fern Shen)

The security cameras, today unplugged, picked up footage of a stop by the van carrying Freddie Gray, police say. (Photo by Fern Shen)

Police previously stated that the wagon stopped at 8:54 a.m. at Mount and Baker, and at 8:59 a.m. at Dolphin and Druid Hill, which is about 20 blocks away. This previous timeline would scarcely allow time for a stop at Fremont and Mosher, which is located roughly midway between the other stops.

Today, Kowalczyk declined to say if a log was kept by the driver or what radio contacts were made among the arresting officers, the van driver and police dispatch.

30-Plus Detectives Assigned to Case

Commissioner Batts said that more than 30 detectives, working under homicide chief Maj. Stanley Brandford, were involved “full-time on this case and only this case,” and that the department has “exhausted every lead at this point in time.”

Saying “the family and the community deserve transparency and truth,” Batts said he had expedited the investigation because of the intense public interest in the case.

“I understand the frustration,” Batts told reporters. “I understand the sense of urgency and so has the organization, and that is why we have finished it [the report] a day ahead of time.”

Police will continue to work on the case, he said, if new information comes to light or at the request of the state’s attorney’s office, which is conducting its own investigation of Gray’s death.

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