Donta Allen, the other passenger detained in the police van with Freddie Gray, is refuting an earlier Washington Post article where he was quoted as saying that Gray was “banging against the walls” and “trying to injure himself.” Instead, Allen claims that he heard nothing and that it “was a smooth ride.”
In an interview with Mike Schuh of the Baltimore CBS station WJZ, Allen said he decided to speak out not only to clear up the false reports, but also out of fear for his life.
He told Schuh:
“All I did was go straight to the station, but I heard a little banging like he was banging his head. And they trying to make it seem like I told them that, I made it like Freddie Gray did that to himself. Why the [expletive] would he do that to himself?”
As Newsweek reported, the two were separated by a “metal partition”, so Allen could not see Gray but he could hear him.
“When I got in the van I didn’t hear nothing. It was a smooth ride. We went straight to the police station. All I heard was a little banging for awhile, four seconds. They did something to him. His body be wobbling back there. He can’t hurt himself in the back of no paddy wagon.”
Allen was not identified by name in the Post article, but was later identified by arrest records. Allen was arrested for allegedly stealing a cigarette, but was never charged.
Allen’s clarification is the latest in what’s been a grand-scale attempt to piece together what happened to Gray during his arrest that left him with a mysterious spinal cord injury. After his death from his injuries on April 19, the city of Baltimore erupted in a series of uprisings. Residents were enraged by the insensitive tactics of the police force, who failed to get Gray proper medical assistance, despite him asking them for it multiple times.
On May 1, prosecutor and State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced in a press conference that the six police officers involved with arresting Gray were charged on the criminal grounds of homicide. The charges include manslaughter, false imprisonment and second degree murder.