By Oliver Laughland
The Baltimore police lieutenant charged with manslaughter over the death of Freddie Gray threatened to use his Taser on an eyewitness who filmed part of the crucial first stop made by a police van carrying the 25-year-old after he was arrested, according an investigation by the Baltimore Sun.
Footage filmed by a witness to the stop on the corner of Mount and Baker Street, where Gray was placed in leg shackles after “acting irate” in the back of a police van, shows Gray lying halfway out of the van. In the short clip, first reported by CNN and uploaded to YouTube in April, Gray does not appear to be moving.
This first stop occurred four minutes after Gray was initially placed inside the van. Officers completed paperwork over Gray’s arrest, placed him in leg shackles, and according to charges laid against all six officers involved in the incident, placed Gray “on his stomach, headfirst on to the floor” back into the van without a seatbelt.
The van went on to make three further stops with no medical assistance being rendered to Gray at any point, despite his distress and requests for assistance.
Gray suffered a severe spinal injury in custody and died a week later. Some have speculated that Gray was subjected to a “rough ride”, whereby a vehicle is deliberately driven erratically.
On Wednesday the Baltimore Sun interviewed the male eyewitness who filmed the video of the first stop, who did not want to be named, along with another eyewitness, 58-year-old Michelle Gross, and quoted from further extracts of the video that have not been broadcast.