Donta Allen, a Baltimore man who was in police custody with Freddie Gray, denied police claims that Gray intentionally slammed his head in a police van, a local television reporter told MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Thursday. Police reportedly claimed that Allen told authorities he heard Gray "banging against the walls" of the van and believed he "was intentionally trying to injure himself."
Allen, who is currently in prison and was listed as a source in a police document, refuted a police account of the night when Gray was taken into custody. He reportedly also denied giving police any information, stating that he did not see Gray in the vehicle because of a barrier dividing the rear of the police van into two sections. He also added that he was being used as a scapegoat by authorities, who failed to provide proper medical assistance to Gray, leading to his death a week later.
“They waited 30 to 35 minutes to get [Gray] some medical attention because they want to cover their a**,” Allen reportedly told Jayne Miller of WBAL-TV, an NBC-affiliated television station in Baltimore. “So now, since they can’t cover their a** on that, they’re trying to use me to cover their a**.”
He also reportedly said that there was no place in the van where “a man can hurt himself.” Gray was reportedly in the van when police arrested Allen, 22, on stealing accusations on April 12.
The report on Gray’s injuries came amid heightened tensions in the United States over the 25-year-old black man’s death after he sustained a traumatic spinal injury in police custody earlier this month. The report indicated that a medical examiner found Gray had fractured three vertebrae when his head slammed violently into the back of the police van, according to WJLA. The report was handed over to prosecutors, who will decide whether to bring charges against the six patrol officers involved in Gray's arrest.
Gray’s death had sparked violence in parts of Baltimore since his funeral on Monday, with more than a dozen buildings and over 100 cars torched, prompting the city to impose a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew from Tuesday through May 4. Activists in New York, Boston, Washington and other cities across the country also rallied earlier this week in solidarity with Baltimore, while Los Angeles, Chicago and Ferguson, Missouri, held protests against police violence.