From the Baltimore Sun:
Defense says prosecutor steered police away from evidence Freddie Gray had history of ‘crash for cash’ schemes
By Kevin Rector The Baltimore Sun
Officers’ attorneys say Freddie Gray had history of ‘crash for cash’ schemes.
The police detectives who investigated the death of Freddie Gray were told that he had a history of participating in “crash-for-cash” schemes — injuring himself in law enforcement settings to collect settlements — but were advised by a state prosecutor not to pursue the information, according to defense attorneys for the six officers charged in Gray’s arrest and death.
The defense attorneys said in a court motion Thursday that Assistant State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe told police investigators working the case in its early stages not to “do the defense attorneys’ jobs for them” by pursuing information they had about such schemes and evidence that Gray “intentionally injured himself at the Baltimore City Detention Center.”
Bledsoe, the lead prosecutor in the case against the officers, represented Gray in a 2012 case in which he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine.
The defense attorneys argued that her alleged statement “would seem to indicate some level of knowledge that exculpatory evidence exists which could benefit the officers charged in Mr. Gray’s death and that the prosecutor did not want this information uncovered by investigators.”
The defense attorneys said they obtained the information from interviews with prosecution witnesses.
They have argued in previous motions that Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby has failed to provide large amounts of evidence through the normal discovery process, and that they have spent hundreds of hours collecting evidence on their own.
Defense attorneys have sought to have Mosby and others removed from the case.
Mosby’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Prosecutors say they have disclosed all the evidence to which the defense is entitled.
Defense attorneys for the six officers declined to comment Thursday or could not be reached.
Police did not respond to a request for comment on the allegations about conversations between its investigators and prosecutors. A corrections department spokesman said he couldn’t confirm whether Gray had been injured at the jail without more information, such as the date of the alleged incident, which defense attorneys did not provide in their motion.
Gray, 25, died after sustaining a severe spinal cord injury in the back of a police transport van. His death in April sparked widespread protests against police brutality. On the day of his funeral, rioters clashed with police, looted businesses and burned buildings.
Questions about his injury remain. Some say he could have injured himself. Others say police might have subjected him to a “rough ride” in the back of the van. Neither theory has been proved.