Community Has Minimal Confidence in Freddie Gray Investigation, Says Baltimore Pastor
Pastor Jamal Bryant of the Empowerment Temple AME Church reacts to news of a previously undisclosed fourth stop of the police van in which Freddie Gray suffered an 80 percent severed spine
JAISAL NOOR, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jaisal Noor in front of City Hall in Baltimore. We just had a chance to speak with Jamal Bryant. He’s the pastor at Empowerment Temple. We asked him about the latest developments in the case of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, killed in police custody less than three weeks ago in Baltimore.
Pastor Jamal Bryant, give us your reaction to this latest news that there was a stop made during the transportation of Freddie Gray that was not documented, only came to light today. What is your reaction to that?
PASTOR JAMAL BRYANT, EMPOWERMENT TEMPLE AME CHURCH: It’s really not shocking to me or anybody. I’m appreciative that it’s announced, but this still opens up Pandora’s box of a whole lot of questions. Why did you stop? When we heard about the initial stop, it was to adjust the cuffs when we’re just two blocks away from the precinct. You stop again an additional time. Why, who’s in the van, who’s driving the van, and what was the state of his health now that we made this other stop? So we don’t have more answers, we still are left with more probing questions.
NOOR: And there’s still so many questions. Talk about the confidence the community has with the current leadership right now, and the direction of this investigation.
BRYANT: We have absolutely minimal confidence in the police department. They have not given what it is that they promised. They gave their word to us we would get full disclosure May 1st. They come out the day before and just cherry-pick what it is they want to share and don’t leave us in any conclusion as to whether our next step or what are the state of those six officers.
NOOR: And this issue is not new. You know about this, you had a town hall in September at the Empowerment Temple. You had a Baltimore Police detective saying the police department knows there are officers that are a threat to the community, and they can’t get them off the force. So this is not new, something that you’ve been involved with. What is it going to take? If it’s not Freddie Gray getting these–death of Freddie Gray getting these answers, what is it going to take?
BRYANT: Here’s an observation I want to share with you. Has nobody considered that in the time since his death we’ve not heard one word from the precinct captain, who is in fact the immediate chain of command to give authority and oversight to these officers? What happened, you’re the one who is supposed to in fact give some credibility to where it is that they are, and we’ve heard absolutely nothing. And so I think it’s absolutely shameful what it is that the Commissioner has done by one, giving a release date when knowing it’s going to take a much longer time, and then to come back the day before as if he’s giving us a gift when they leaked it last night to the Washington Post is absolutely insulting to the intelligence of the citizens of this city.