(USA Today) A prisoner sharing a police van with Freddie Gray the night he died of spinal injuries while in police custody in Baltimore purportedly told investigators that Gray was "banging against walls" inside the vehicle and was "intentionally trying to injure himself," The Washington Post reported Thursday.
The statement from the unidentified prisoner was contained in an application for a search warrant, the newspaper said. The warrant has been sealed by the court, but the Post said it had obtained the documents under the condition that the prisoner not be named.
The newspaper noted that the prisoner, al though sharing the police van, was separated from Gray by a metal partition and could not see him.
Meanwhile, The Baltimore Sun debunked reports online that Gray had either been in an auto accident or had had spinal surgery shortly before he died in police custody April 19. The newspaper said court records cited in the reports had nothing to do with a car accident, but are connected to a lawsuit alleging that Gray and his sister were injured by exposure to lead paint.
Gray's death touched off a series of protests that, in turn, led to violence, burning and looting Monday in Baltimore and provoked a week-long emergency nighttime curfew. The demonstrations in the two cities saw droves of chanting protesters lining city blocks and spilling over into nearby streets.
Thousands massed outside City Hall on Wednesday to protest Gray's death and the outrage spread to New York City where another large throng gathered in Union Square. Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said 18 people were arrested Wednesday, including two juveniles. Police in New York arrested more than 60 people.
There were encouraging signs -- including peaceful protests, open schools and a free concert on a sunny day -- that Baltimore might be righting itself after Monday's devastating violence and chaos.
The reports regarding Gray's condition before or after his arrest come on the eve of plans by Baltimore police on Friday to turn over their findings in the case to State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
Six officers have been suspended with pay pending the investigation that could result in criminal charges. The latest protests took place outside Mosby's office.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake sought to defuse a new flash point by correcting "misinformation" that some kind of report in the case would be made public Friday.
Cheryl Stewart, spokesperson for the mayor, said the findings will not be made public anytime soon. The state's attorney's office will review the report and decide whether to charge anyone in Gray's death, she said.
"The misconception is that this report will be released publicly and it will not be," Stewart said. "We just want to make it clear that releasing too much information could be harmful to the investigation and to justice."
"Everybody is pinning on Friday like this is going to a big verdict or something and that's not going to happen," Stewart said. "I understand people want the details. But giving it to the public could jeopardize whether charges will be brought."
The protests, while counting in the thousands during the day, have dwindled to only small crowds at night since the city ordered a 10 p.m. curfew, bolstered by 1,000 law enforcement officers and some 2,000 National Guard troops.
"We are asking that they remain peaceful,'' Baltimore police Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he was "very encouraged'' by the relative calm. Some 2,000 National Guard troops and more than 1,000 law enforcement officers were on hand to enforce the curfew and maintain order.
"We're not out of the woods yet,'' Hogan said.
The Baltimore protesters also demanded a deeper look at how police treat black men in the city. Signs included "End Police Brutality Now," Justice and Equality For All" and "Stop Police Militarization Killings."
Many were students clad in sports uniforms, t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts from their colleges and high schools.
"This is an important issue," said Jillian Tse, a senior at Johns Hopkins University. "It's more just than just police brutality. I think it's systemic racism."