Batts: 'The Officers That I Saw There Were Not Out Of Control'
BALTIMORE (WJZ)--For the first time we are getting some real answers to what happened to Freddie Gray, but the Baltimore Police Commissioner is the first to admit that we may never fully know what happened that day.
Inside Baltimore Police headquarters Commissioner Anthony Batts sits down with WJZ for his first extensive interview since the death of Freddie Gray.
Bubala: "What happened in that van? Do you have any better idea about exactly what happened?
Batts: "The second prisoner who was picked up is that he didn't see any harm done to Freddie at all. What he has said is that he heard Freddie thrashing about. The driver didn't drive erratically, wasn't slamming on breaks wasn't turning corners fast or in an irrational way.
Bubala: "The most glaring discrepancy though, you've have said it, the mayor has said it, that there is no evidence that force was used during the arrest, but we have all seen the video of Freddie Gray screaming in agony. Can you deny that there was no force in just that initial arrest?"
Batts: "What I don't know is what happened before that filming. I don't know if someone put hands on him. I don't know if he jumped over a fence and may have hurt himself and injured himself. What I do know with little evidence that we have is that when I've looked at these cases before, officers who are out of control remain out of control. The officers that I saw there were not out of control. They weren't causing him any pain in that filming. And when they lifted him up they grabbed him under his armpits and they moved him as best they can."
Bubala: "But it's not out of the question that during the pursuit, the apprehension, and the restraint that there was too much force placed on Freddie Gray's back, spine and neck?"
Batts: "I don't know if it's a snapping of your neck going forward. I don't know if it's a twisting of your neck. I don't know if it's a knee that would be placed on your back would cause that type of injury. That's where we have to let the experts, the medical examiner kind of lead us."
Bubala: "But are you frustrated like so many members of our community that you don't have some concrete answers yet?"
Batts: "Rushing to judgement, or skipping over evidence, or cutting it short just to give an answer is not fair to that family. It's not fair to the police officers and it's not fair to the community."
Commissioner Batts tells WJZ he understands the sense of urgency and rage from the community, but he says our city needs to stay together as protests mount over the coming days.
"We are going to have to have the community come together and calm our community. I've been in full scale riots, I've been in them multiple times and I have seen what cities look like after these take place," he said.
Commissioner Batts says he's most concerned with protesters coming from different cities and he says he really wants the city to remain calm. He thinks it has-- even with the protests we've had so far, but he just wants the process to play itself out fully.
Click here for the latest on the investigation into Freddie Gray's death.
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