Freddie Gray Update

In the past 12 hours, wingnuts have become elated over the leaked details that a second prisoner in the paddywagon, separated by a wall, heard Gray attempting to injure himself. You see- Gray broke his own neck.

Of course it is preposterous, but it’s just enough of a credible lie that the usual suspects can convince themselves that the police are completely innocent. Gofundme pages will no doubt be popping up as we speak.

Here on planet earth, where there has, according to a Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon, only been one (1) reported case of a self inflicted neck injuries since they started keeping data, WBAL reporter Jayne Miller has completely put this nonsense to rest:

In other news, the police have turned over their portion of the investigation, and we learn today that there was an additional stop made by the police van that was previously unreported and not mentioned by the drivers until, and this is where it gets really good, until the second stop was discovered through private security cameras.

So, yeah.

80 replies
  1. 1
    jeffreyw says:

    Damn fool tried to steal more chain than he could swim with!

  2. 2
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    Geraldo confronted in Baltimore about Fox News coverage:

    Fixed grin and walks away.

  3. 3
    BGinCHI says:

    If the cops had exculpatory evidence we would not still be waiting for the results of whatever their investigation holds.

    When people with power stall, something ain’t right.

  4. 4
    SatanicPanic says:

    To me the most shocking thing about this new claim is that it wasn’t reported first by the Gateway Pundit

  5. 5
    Germy Shoemangler says:


    If the cops had exculpatory evidence we would not still be waiting for the results of whatever their investigation holds.

    When people with power stall, something ain’t right.


  6. 6
    Hungry Joe says:

    @jeffreyw: Yeah, that was one of the “Southern Sheriff” jokes we used to tell in high school. The other one I remember is the southern sheriff’s explanation for the discovery of the bullet-riddled body of a black man: “Worst case of suicide I’ve ever seen.”

  7. 7
    Belafon says:

    Yep, she tweeted about it on the 23rd, where the second prisoner said Gray was quiet and the ride uneventful.

  8. 8
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @Hungry Joe:
    I remember Hunter S. Thompson’s account of Jimmy Carter’s speech on police overreach. Carter said two cops go to a house they want to search. First cop knocks on the front door. Other cop runs around back and yells “come in!”

  9. 9
    MattF says:

    That interview is just embarassing. Too bad that we have a culture where the WaPo editors aren’t expected to commit hari-kari when they disgrace themselves.

  10. 10
    Bobby B says:

    They don’t even need to try anymore. They can kill in front of cell phone cameras and get exonerated. HRC really showed up late to the prom with her recent pronunciamento on body cams, just like an ex-Mexican president condemning the drug war AFTER he’s retired.

  11. 11
    Jay C says:

    Not sure what is going to get me even angrier and more-disgusted with the whole Freddie Gray mess than: 1) “someone” – I’m guessing BPD, but I notice the “story” is glaringly unsourced – would even float this non-credible BS tale in the first place; 2) that a “reputable” media outlet like the WaPo would print it, weaselly disclaimers or no; 3) that this “self-inflicted injury” tale is probably going to be either accepted as gospel, or given unwarranted credence by a depressingly large percentage of the populace; and 4) that it will probably prove an effective defense for any and all BPD personnel who might even be remotely unlucky enough to face any sort of official censure for any actions involvng Freddie Gray (which number I am going to guess will average out to zero).

    Words fail…

  12. 12
    Knowbody says:

    Thank you, John Cole, for an actual topic worth discussing.

    @Belafon: this is such an obvious lie, and they hold dead black men in such contempt that they can’t even disgorge a reasonable lie.

    All while the racist assholes dance on his grave.

  13. 13
    BGinCHI says:

    @MattF: We do. The problem is that they think “hari kari” means “profit.”

  14. 14
    chopper says:

    Of course it is preposterous

    hey, the Joker broke his own neck in a comic once. and since white people believe that black folk have super villain type abilities, it’s totes possible.

  15. 15
    lamh36 says:

    Prisoner Was Wrong: Freddie Gray Didn’t Kill Himself via @MichaelDalynyc

    Before the second prisoner was even in the police van, Freddie Gray asked the police for medical assistance…

  16. 16
    Belafon says:

    @MattF: The deaths wouldn’t be honorable, no matter how awesome the sword looks (My Serenity reference for the day).

  17. 17

    WaPo has become even worse under the ownership of Bezos, something I did not think was possible.

  18. 18

    It reminds me of Casblanca and Captain Renault’s explanation about the unfortunate death in custody of Señor Ugarte: “I am making out the report now. We haven’t quite decided yet whether he committed suicide or died trying to escape.”

  19. 19
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Then he ran into my knife
    He ran into my knife ten times
    If you’d have been there, if you’d have seen it
    I betcha you would have done the same

  20. 20
    Tom Q says:

    As others are saying, the worst part of this is the fact that such a ludicrous lie actually got the publishing imprimatur of the Washington Post.

    I know police releasing such dopey rationales have a long history, and this will be swallowed whole by full-grade wingnuts. But in terms of keeping Baltimore calm, it’s just about the stupidest thing imaginable. I’ll bet the mayor and governor are furious this was put out there just now.

  21. 21
    scav says:

    Sumbuddy has control issues. Puppie and Flowers and Health care? Not a peep. Wimminz? Instant Abominable and despicable Distraction from Issues of Great Import!

  22. 22
    g says:

    Sure. Because the first thing I think of when I hear a locked up person banging on the walls is that he’s trying to deliberately hurt himself.

    How do these people think? How do they interact with other human beings around them?

  23. 23
    Patrick says:


    Did Bezos get rid of its editors? The initial article didn’t even pass the smell test. Just another example of our failed media.

  24. 24
    kc says:

    That story would be ludicrous even if the Baltimore PD didn’t have a history of deliberately causing grievous bodily injury to prisoners in those vans.

  25. 25
    dedc79 says:

    They’ve tried and gotten away with this kind of story before.

  26. 26
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I’d like it if sociologists and psychologists could figure out why right wingers immediately begin trafficking in lies, bullshit and unfounded rumors every time something like this happens.

  27. 27
    Penus says:

    A bombshell is coming! An anonymous source says Gray was turning into a werewolf and died mid-transformation. The source stressed vigilance about the growing threat presented by “dark Negro magics.”

  28. 28
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Breaking news: new investigation into MLK’s death reveals civil rights leader was distraught over rioting, shot himself.

  29. 29
    Napoleon says:


    and they hold dead black men in such contempt that they can’t even disgorge a reasonable lie.

    Correction, they hold the entire public in such comtempt.

  30. 30
    hitchhiker says:

    Just. Christ, how stupid do they think the public is?

    People break their necks from falling and landing on their heads, from diving headfirst into shallow water, or from crashes that are violent enough to fling them at speed into hard objects.

    It takes a lot of force, in other words. A handcuffed man doesn’t break his neck by banging his head against the wall. He’d have to be on his feet running at that wall with his head down.

    What the actual fuck.

  31. 31
    catclub says:

    @dedc79: Paul Waldman mentions aguy in Louisiana. Arrested, handcuffed behind his back in squad car, shoots himself in the chest. ( with gun he had hidden).

  32. 32
    Fridaynext says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:
    You know Emmett Till was all about the self-mutilation. Probably some kinky-sex thing they kept out of the official report. You know. Out of respect for the family.

  33. 33
    SatanicPanic says:

    @hitchhiker: well, parts of the public are pretty stupid. I’m sure at least half of us are already seeing people on their FB feeds crowing about this

  34. 34
    Belafon says:

    The only good part about this lie is we’re back on the real story.

  35. 35
    Matt McIrvin says:

    “He fell down an elevator shaft, onto some bullets!”

  36. 36
    Barry says:

    @BGinCHI: “If the cops had exculpatory evidence we would not still be waiting for the results of whatever their investigation holds.”

    Seconded. Notice that they have lickspittle reporters and papers to print whatever they want.

  37. 37
    dedc79 says:

    @catclub: And the thing is. Say you want to prosecute that case (which I hope prosecutors would). You present all the evidence you have, but the cops stick to their story. Your argument then boils down to basically the strongest circumstantial evidence case a prosecutor could have, but still no eyewitnesses or direct evidence of murder. And then you have to convince an entire jury pool to vote to convict.

  38. 38
    Cacti says:

    It’s not even somewhat credible.

    It’s the type of arrant bullsh*t you’d expect out of an organization with zero accountability.

    Like I said yesterday, but for the video from a concerned citizen, Officer Slager would still be patrolling the streets and telling a credulous media how Walter Scott was charging him backwards.

  39. 39
    Barry says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: “WaPo has become even worse under the ownership of Bezos, something I did not think was possible.”

    Brad DeLong, showing the naivete so often seen among people who learned econ at Harvard, expressed surprise that Bezos didn’t clean up the WaPo.

    I told him that the corruption was an asset.

  40. 40
    p.a. says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: A: it’s all they have. B: it’s who they are


  41. 41
    Patricia Kayden says:

    So I assume this “prisoner” has a name and will be identified to Gray’s attorneys so that he can be properly grilled. Even if a prisoner made such a ridiculous claim, how do we know he wasn’t beaten to within an inch of his life or bribed to come up with this story? Plus, what did the police in the van do while Gray was allegedly thrashing himself TO THE POINT THAT HE SEVERED HIS SPINE in their presence? Why wasn’t he restrained in such a manner that he couldn’t harm himself TO THE POINT THAT HE SEVERED HIS SPINE?

    This better not be the story that is sold to the public. Not gonna fly.

  42. 42
    Barry says:

    @Patrick: “Did Bezos get rid of its editors? The initial article didn’t even pass the smell test. Just another example of our failed media.”

    No, he kept the same crew which repeats any and all lies justifying any and all wars.

  43. 43
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Belafon: Nice. So they’re straight up lying.

    I really don’t care what Rightwingers are saying about all of this since I’m pretty sure that they’re just glad that another N word is dead. Baltimore is a majority Black city, so I’m crossing my finger for justice in this one case.

  44. 44
    NickM says:

    Breaking: Assrocket reports Sen. Harry Reid’s brother Larry did it.

  45. 45
    bemused says:


    They know how stupid the rightwingers are, most of whom will never let go of the lies they want to hear.

  46. 46
    Greg says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    “He fell down an elevator shaft, onto some bullets!”

    You know, I’ve always suspected a bit of foul play…

  47. 47
    Tone in DC says:

    I cannot even joke about this shit. Never mind my own physical proximity to this fucked up situation (and a shout out to the Baltimoreans on the blog), but the mountain of bullshit the cops and their journalist-enablers are expecting the public to swallow is just ridiculous.

    Only good news in a while is that South Carolina authorities charged the cop who shot Walter Scott. We’ll see if the charge leads to a conviction; not holding my breath (whether the jurisdiction is South Carolina, Missouri or Maryland).

    As for Governor Hogan… don’t get me started.

  48. 48
    scav says:

    And there are clear examples of how well it worked before in the available bufferspace of what I once thought the lower bound for the terminally baffled. Shoot, report, get caught in a lie, re-report, more lies caught on tap, escalate situation, eject PR pre-conviction while reminding innocence before proven guilt of cop, shuffle paperwork behind the curtain of best-buddies while adding to confusion while dumping all the data of whatever source, Oh just bother. By now, one of their terminally frightened colleages elsewhere will have started the well-rehearshed round of non-accountablity elsewhere. Float, Float Float Your Boat, Shoot at Will You Cop, Merrily Merrily Merrily Merrily, They Don’t Give a Fock. Are You Shooting, Are You Shooting, Brother In Blue, Brother in Blue, It won’t really matter, You were really frightened, Bang Bang Bang, Bing Bang Bang.

  49. 49
    ruemara says:

    I’m starting to suspect the concept that police should be humane is a radical concept. And that Black Lives Don’t Matter is a status quo the majority are willing to live with.

  50. 50
    Peale says:

    Suicide plain and simple. He just walked out into that field, lay down three feet under ground and shot himself three times.

  51. 51
    Sherparick says:

    @catclub: Again, the police had to choose between suicide and shot trying to escape.

  52. 52

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Not gonna fly.

    It will fly fine with the people who want to believe. That’s the biggest lesson to me of the past 6 years: there are people who will happily believe obvious nonsense if it supports their racist, sexist worldview.

  53. 53
    Kryptik says:

    And just like with Trayvon, Michael Brown, et al, internet assholes are using the chance to further stoke racial fires through reappropriated photos. In this case, of supposed “looters” and their supposed gains. Except not really.

    The problem is people still buying this and allowing it to color their reactions to anything else happening in Baltimore. The problem is, this shit still works, and will continue working, because this country is still horrifically racist at its core, and just needs an excuse to let its freak flag fly.

    And I don’t know how we change that. At this point, I’m not sure if we ever will.

  54. 54
    NotMax says:

    @Mustang Bobby

    IIRC, it was the first episode of Push, Nevada which had a scene wherein a dead body was discovered, hands and feet chained to the bedposts, and the room had been filled with ice.

    Sheriff is summoned, takes a cursory glance and says, “Suicide.”

  55. 55
    TG Chicago says:

    In the past 12 hours, wingnuts have become elated over the leaked details that a second prisoner in the paddywagon, separated by a wall, heard Gray attempting to injure himself.

    How does a self-injury attempt sound different from someone roughing up a prisoner?

    PROSECUTOR: You claimed to hear Gray trying to injure himself. We’ve recorded the sound of someone simulating an attempt to hurt themselves…

    (plays recording): *FTHUMP FTHUMP*

    PROSECUTOR:…as well as the sound of someone simulating an assault on a prisoner.

    (plays recording): *FTHUMP FTHUMP*

    PROSECUTOR: Can you explain the difference in these two sounds?

    PRISONER #2 / ALLEGED AUDIO ‘WITNESS’: Sure. The first one will get me out of jail sooner.

  56. 56
    jayboat says:

    Did anyone else see him actually take a step when the cops were dragging him to the paddywagon?
    He was screaming in pain… in so much pain he couldn’t really scream. I think his back was already broken… watch as they try to load him into the van.

  57. 57
    Doug r says:

    @Bobby B: better late than never

  58. 58
    Time Travelin' says:

    I remember when I body slammed myself onto a sidewalk. and my buddy threw himself into the back of a police car at a high rate of speed.

  59. 59
    LA Julian says:

    “Right now, out there, Sam Vimes is learning to be a very bad copper indeed. And he learns fast.”

    –Night Watch, 2002, Sir Terry Pratchett (ave atque vale)

  60. 60
    MomSense says:


    The one witness to the arrest said he was folded like a crab or origami. I think he was already severely injured even before they put him in the van.

    The whole thing is horrifying.

  61. 61
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Roger Moore: There’s a type of argument that isn’t really intended to convince a skeptic of anything, but to reinforce preexisting beliefs among people already inclined to believe them.

    We all indulge in this sort of thing sometimes. Often, preaching-to-the-choir is just venting. Hell, I do it here.

    But I think a lot of stuff explicitly promoted as convincing argument is actually in this category. I was just reminded of an old Christian evangelical book called “Evidence that Demands a Verdict,” by Josh McDowell. Various people attempting to evangelize to me had recommended this book as an irrefutable argument of the correctness of the Bible and the divinity of Christ.

    I eventually actually read the thing. It was completely unconvincing to anyone who wasn’t already a Christian. Basically, it was a lot of special pleading about how we shouldn’t demand a higher standard of evidence for extraordinary claims about miracles than for mundane stuff like the existence of George Washington. But if you were already inclined to believe, it might comfort you with support for what you already thought.

  62. 62
    GxB says:

    @hitchhiker: A more appropriate way to express this question would be “How may stupid people do they think there are?” With the obvious answer being “Enough to get away with it yet again.”

  63. 63

    To paraphrase Lincoln, you can fool all the people some of the time, and 27% of the people all of the time, and that should be enough to win you the low turnout midterm elections.

  64. 64
    PST says:

    Here on planet earth, where there has, according to a Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon, only been one (1) reported case of a self inflicted neck injuries since they started keeping data,

    I don’t disagree with the thrust of the post, but this statement is obviously incorrect. People hang themselves or jump headfirst from high places all the time, inflicting neck injuries on themselves. Please don’t tell me that neither of these happened in this case; I realize that.

  65. 65
    rikyrah says:

    yes, he broke his own back.


  66. 66
    jake the antisoshul shoshulist says:

    I am currently working part time at a big box store. Last there was s Hispanic woman with 3 or 4 children walking through my department. The children were running around and making noise, but nothing I thought was particularly notable. But this sixtyish gentleman audibly said “I have to pay for their food and a roof over their head, I shouldn’t have to listen to them too.” My first thought was that woman’s family probably works harder than either he or I have in our lives. The second was that his children must have been perfect angels and never made any noise.

  67. 67
  68. 68
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @jake the antisoshul shoshulist: This guy has psychic powers that allow him to detect shiftless welfare recipients, I guess.

    Today I saw a bumper sticker saying “work hard, millions of welfare recipients are depending on you.” I wonder just how much of their tax money these people think goes to fund welfare. Also, how much of the value they generate by working goes to their pre-tax paycheck. I think people have a sense that their pay is being eaten by somebody but they may be misidentifying who.

  69. 69
    Tone in DC says:

    Today I saw a bumper sticker saying “work hard, millions of welfare recipients are depending on you.”

    That is particularly foul, after the last six or seven years. Thanks a lot, bankster fuckers, for putting millions of people out of their homes by taking greed and stupidity to a new nadir.

    I am sitting in my cubicle waiting for the end of the shift. I am ready to throw things through the fucking windows.

    I am gonna need to visit my old friend Mr. Cuervo after I finish, today.

  70. 70
    Tree With Water says:

    My guess is that the second stop by the paddy wagon was to talk over what to do-and-say about the corpse of the man they just murdered. But there’s too many police involved to sustain a cover-up, and (at least) one of them will cut a deal and testify. The truth will out. The legal gamesmanship has just begun and is in play, even as tensions hang fire outside. Then again, the cops that murdered Mr. Garner(?) in NYC walked, so maybe I’m wrong. And if I am, what happened in Baltimore a couple of nights ago will look increasingly tame as time marches on.

  71. 71
    boatboy_srq says:

    @jake the antisoshul shoshulist: It’s a real pity GA Gov. Deal’s great immigration experiment hasn’t received more press.

  72. 72
    Elie says:

    @Tree With Water:
    Unfortunately for them mr Gray was still alive and received medical diagnosis that explicitly detailed the nature of all his injuries. This would have been less detailed in an autopsy and is why they were able to have that report ready so fast. There will be no escape. I agree w one of the upstring comments that the injury may have occurred before his being put into the van. It appeared to me that he was having problems putting any weight on his legs and they seemed weirdly floppy.

  73. 73
    LA Julian says:

    Context for the above quote: Pratchett’s dark and prescient take on Les Mis addressed the corruption of the police, modern or ancient, as lackeys of the aristocracy given free rein to take out their own impoverished frustrations on those still poorer and less empowered, in the name of “order,” and also the militarization of the police force/use of army and National Guard against protestors, through that historical lens, as both a cautionary tale and a light of hope, a call to arms to make things better in the future.

    That it was done in the guise of a spoof not of Les Mis alone, with a heroic Javert leading the barricades and dreaming of pushing them out to encompass everyone inside their freedom, but also of Doctor Who by way of 007, with a time travel paradox in which the hero must become his own father-figure and be the mentor his younger self needs to avoid becoming the sort of police chief who heads up a city where “Disappeared” is the same as “died in police custody and thus deserved it” — because it’s also a cold take on the way the Batman mythos has developed, by way of Sharpe’s Rifles with the late great Pete Postlethwaite’s villain as the Joker, a man who thrives and receives more power from the state in a time of national crisis, when by definition anyone objecting is a bad guy, a traitor, eggs and omelettes and David Brooks will provide all the moral cover to indulge that darker nature.

    That was Sir Terry’s genius, to see what was going on, and what would come to fruition, based on the past precedent — and it was a vision he applied to both sides of the Atlantic, the New York aspect of Ankh-Morpork that never trult embraced Peelian principles of policing, and the London side that was abandoning them to follow America’s enthusiastic lead (remember Jean Charles de Menezies? Camera footage of police brutality and lies has been lost before) with the excuse of the latest War on Terror.

    And with one wrenching twist of allusion, he tied it all together with the Great War and the American Civil War — When lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed/from dead land/How do they rise up? But his formerly-crooked coppers redeemed themselves only by joining with the citizens, and dying beside them, so that the principles of John Keel — Robert Peel — could have a chance to take root instead.

    And that is still the easy way, because it’s a fictional story with a happy(ish) ending, not the real world that is not carried on the back of a Turtle.

  74. 74
    LongHairedWeirdo says:


    You raise a good point. A paraphrase of a quote taken out of context that is not technically correct from one point of view…

    Wait, did I say you raise a *good* point? WTF is *wrong* with me? No, you don’t raise a very good point at all.

  75. 75
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    @TG Chicago:

    Now,*that* is what a good point looks like.

    One that you’d hope would be screamingly obvious, but one can’t take chances these days.

  76. 76
    MCA1 says:

    @Tree With Water: I wish I shared your optimism. It all hinges on having a D.A. that sees prosecuting this murder as a route to something greater (or, I suppose, as a way to avoid widespread riots and unrest), so much so that they don’t care about the abuse they’re going to get from police. Unless and until you have a crusader D.A. who doesn’t care about the cooperation levels they get from cops in future investigations, you’re not going to have these cases get the sort of aggressive prosecution they need. There’s too symbiotic a relationship between them. Cue the Law and Order intro.

    It’s the same thing within police departments. Unless you’ve got enough ambitious Lieutenant Exley types around, who don’t give a shit about the thin blue line and its obvious abuses, you’ll never get beyond the cult loyalty that leads to cops covering for one another any time something goes wrong. The whole militarization thing is a problem, no doubt, and I’d love to see a return to community-based policing and an emphasis in training on the whole “serve” and “protect” concepts, in place of “incarcerate in specific quantities.” But I’ve always believed that until the culture is eradicated, you’ll still see the same besieged mentality of police forces generally, and rage simmering in the worst of them individually. It’s just a misplaced outlet of the guilt and paranoia borne of their own resistance to transparency and accountability. Or it’s an enabling of bad behavior due to lack of fear of repercussion because they’re in the fraternity that happens to control the Greek Council and the student disciplinary body.

  77. 77
    cincyanon says:

    – I’m not a witch! I’m not a witch !
    – But you are dressed as one.
    – They dressed me like this. – No, we didn’t.
    – And this isn’t my nose. It’s a false one.
    – Well? – We did do the nose.
    – The nose? – And the hat. But she is a witch !
    – Did you dress her up like this? – No, no!
    – Yes. A bit.
    – She has got a wart.
    – What makes you think she’s a witch?
    – She turned me into a newt!
    – A newt?
    – I got better.
    – Burn her anyway!

  78. 78
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @LA Julian: I ought to read that book again. It’s one of the very best Discworld novels.

  79. 79
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Tone in DC: These guys are all convinced that our society’s problems exist because of the dead weight of countless millions of spongers who are too lazy to work. As if there were a perpetual labor shortage, and the rises and falls in the unemployment rate were just some kind of mysterious moral tide affecting the propensity to sponge, and they’d be rich men if Uncle Sugar weren’t feeding moochers out of their wallets. It’s essentially impervious to reasoned argument.

  80. 80
    dww44 says:

    @boatboy_srq: Thanks for the link. The fact that it’s from Forbes gives the article some credibility so I shared it with many of my GOP relatives who themselves are linked to agriculture in the state.

    Truth is, though, I’m not so sure that Deal actually was big on this legislation, although he didn’t veto the bill. He’s more pro business than the legislature. Like so many that are Republican controlled, the legislature is not only radical and far right but also not prudent in its quest to out-conservative other states, often resulting in laws with unintended consequences like this one.

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