In the Media: Freddie Gray Officer Statements Released; Maryland Cracks Down on Domestic Violence
A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.
From The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore Officer Said Freddie Gray Asked for Help
"As Freddie Gray was being transported in a police van through West Baltimore, at least one officer warned that Gray needed medical care but wondered, along with others, whether he was faking injuries or being uncooperative, according to investigators who reviewed the officers' statements during a departmental probe.
"Those statements — which have never been publicly revealed — help to explain why a judge has ordered separate trials for six officers charged in the incident. Some of the statements provide differing accounts of events that day; defense attorneys have argued in court that such conflicts could create problems in a joint trial.
"Officer William Porter told police investigators that after being summoned to check on Gray on the morning of April 12, he told the van's driver that the city booking facility would not process Gray because he was in medical distress.
"'Help me. Help me up,' Gray said.
"Porter helped Gray up and asked, 'Do you need a medic or something? Do you need to go to the hospital?'
"When Gray responded affirmatively, Porter said he told the van's driver, Officer Caesar Goodson, Jr., that Central Booking wouldn't accept Gray. Porter also told investigators he wasn't sure if Gray was in distress, or trying to convince officers to take him to the hospital instead of jail.
"The Baltimore Sun was granted exclusive access to the Police Department's investigation, in which detectives outlined the officers' statements and scrutinized Gray's arrest and transport — days before any charges were filed in the case or any court proceedings began.
"Police did not show or provide The Sun with the actual statements given by the officers. Some of the officers' statements conflict, and the police summary might not reflect the full account of each officer."
From The Baltimore Sun: Elijah Cummings: ‘There are Clearly Two Baltimores’
"Elijah Cummings can still hear the music played by the South Baltimore musicians he grew up idolizing.
"As a child, he asked his father for 35 cents to rent a horn and learn to play with them. It was 35 cents, he said, the seven-child family couldn't afford.
"'I mourn for what could've been,' the now-64-year-old, 11-term congressman said. 'There are two Baltimores. There are clearly two Baltimores.'
"Speaking from behind the lectern at the Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church's "Tiffany Series" Sunday, Cummings told several such stories to illustrate his point. The son of two pastors choked up as he railed against the racial and economic disparities in the city, to the applause of the Bolton Hill congregation.
"The series features musicians and speakers 'on issues of concern to the Baltimore community,' and has included Harry Belafonte, peace activist Elizabeth McAlister and "House of Cards" creator and executive producer Beau Willimon."
From WJLA: Maryland Cracking Down on Domestic Violence
"Beginning Thursday, District and Circuit Courts in Maryland will have stricter control over non-marital cases of domestic abuse.
"Under the new law, if a man or woman beats their romantic partner, a judge can now force them to immediately surrender their gun[s], no questions asked. The law also doubles the length of dating restraining orders from six to 12 months.
'This is going to make a difference,' said Laurie Duker, vice president of the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV). 'Victims of dating violence deserve all the same protection that spouses who are being abused receive, and now they're going to get it. I think more people in abusive relationships will now come to court, say what's happened and have the court change it.'
"According to MNADV, guns were behind nearly 74 percent of domestic violence deaths in Maryland last fiscal year.
"The new law also gives Maryland judges more creative leeway. For instance, abusive partners can now be enrolled in drug, anger management and mental health classes. They can also have their green cards confiscated after their first offense."