As curfew closed in on Wednesday night, Peter Hermann at The Washington Post published a story, gleaned from a search warrant affidavit the Post "obtained," saying that Freddie Gray may have broken his own neck in the back of a police wagon nearly three weeks ago.
"A prisoner sharing a police transport van with Freddie Gray told investigators that he could hear Gray 'banging against the walls' of the vehicle and believed that he 'was intentionally trying to injure himself,'" Hermann's story, time-stamped 9:10 p.m. Wednesday, begins. The search warrant affidavit, written by a Baltimore detective seeking to seize the uniform of one of the officers involved in the incident that left Gray dead, is filed under seal as part of the investigation into Gray's death.
The Post did not name the witness, said to be in jail, for his own safety. Critics said the leak was self-serving and Jayne Miller, the veteran investigative reporter at WBAL, said that other evidence already widely known to the press contradicted the claim. "We have reported that when van stopped to pick up 2nd prisoner, sources say, Gray was unresponsive," Miller tweeted. "No evidence banging head against van."
And: "BPD Commissioner Anthony Batts on 4/23 told us second prisoner in police van said Freddie Gray was 'mostly quiet.'"
The Sun's Justin Fenton chimed in this morning to say that this is not necessarily contradictory: "BPD April 20 press conference also includes this remark that 2nd prisoner could 'hear' Freddie," he tweeted with the link.
Bottom line: In any investigation, witnesses will contradict one another. It doesn't mean anyone is necessarily acting in bad faith—although leaking selective tidbits to construct a specific narrative might be. Police turned over their investagative findings to Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby earlier today, but the conclusions are not expected to be made public in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation.