KABOOM! That’s the sound of the prosecution’s case exploding, once and for all. It’s also the sound of justice for Freddie Gray, not social justice, but actual justice. Justice is done when the truth is known, and that truth is the basis for the application of the rule of law. For this, we have an honest, ethical man, Baltimore attorney J. Rubin, to thank.
It was revealed in a motion in court this morning, in the Caesar Goodson case, that the prosecution had, for more than a year, hid exculpatory evidence, evidence that absolutely destroys their narrative, and proves that the defense theory of the case is the truth. It also proves that the prosecution knew the officers were innocent no later than May 7 of 2015–the Freddie Gray incident took place on April 12, 2015–and charged them with multiple crimes anyway. Let’s review the prosecution narrative and the truth:
The Narrative: Freddie Gray, an absolute innocent, was run down, manhandled and arrested for no reason whatever. The officers, in refusing to use a seatbelt must have known it would result in Gray’s death. They ignored his many cries for medical attention, and sometime between the 2nd and 4th stops of the van, Gray’s catastrophic neck injury occurred, because of the lack of a seat belt and because Officer Goodson gave Gray a “rough ride.”
The Truth: Gray was a drug-using minor drug dealer carrying an illegal knife. For reasons known only to him, when he spotted the officers, he and the man with him fled. The officers performed an entirely legal Terry stop, and during their pat down search, found a knife illegal under Baltimore city law, giving them probable cause to arrest him. They did not seat belt Gray, which was normal BPD procedure, and because he made only occasional, vague complaints, stopped to check on him no less than five times. It was only at the 6th and final stop at the jail that they could tell without ambiguity that Gray was in medical distress, and immediately called medical help.
New Information: We now know that between the 5th and 6th stops, Gray was banging his head against the metal divider, something that would have been impossible if the prosecution narrative were true. This is confirmed by the testimony of Dr. Vincent Di Maio, and a supporting neurologist. The officers had every reason to believe Gray was faking until the 6th and final stop.
On Thursday, Goodson’s trial began with an extended discussion on a motion by the defense, unsealed Wednesday, requesting that the entire case be dismissed because prosecutors had failed to disclose another, extended proffer session they had with Allen a year ago, not long after the charges against the officers were brought.
A proffer session is a meeting where a prosecutor determines what a witness has to offer that would help the prosecutor’s case. If that witness is a criminal, as Allen is, they would normally offer some compensation–a lighter sentence, dismissal of a charge, etc.–in exchange for that testimony. Unfortunately for the prosecution, Allen’s testimony would absolutely destroy their narrative and prove they had no grounds to charge the officers. It would prove, just as Dr. Di Maio testified, that Gray’s death was an accident, “and accidents happen.” So they buried it, hiding it from the Defense, until Mr. Rubin–a man that knows the meaning of justice–told them what happened.
Andrew Graham, Goodson’s attorney, said Allen repeated his initial statement to police at that meeting, and that the evidence was therefore exculpatory and required to be handed over by prosecutors. Short of a dismissal of the case, Graham asked that Allen’s statement to police be allowed into evidence regardless of whether he takes the stand. He said such an allowance was warranted in part because prosecutors had already been reprimanded for not disclosing evidence in the case twice before.
These are entirely reasonable motions. It is common for judges to dismiss charges in such circumstances, but in this case, the defendant is a police officer, and this is a political show trial. Judge Williams is going to see that the show goes on. Were the defendant a common criminal, it is likely the case would have been dismissed.
Judge Barry G. Williams denied the motion and rejected the request to allow Allen’s statement into evidence. But he also excoriated Chief Deputy Michael Schatzow and other prosecutors for failing to disclose the information, giving Schatzow until Monday to produce any and all exculpatory evidence that has not already been handed over in Goodson and the other officers’ cases.
He repeatedly slammed Schatzow, Baltimore’s second highest-ranking prosecutor, for insinuating that Allen’s statements during the proffer session were not exculpatory. ‘I’m not saying you did anything nefariously, I’m saying you don’t know what exculpatory means,’ Williams said.
This is the equivalent of the judge calling Schatzow a complete incompetent. I would use other, less complementary, terms. Schatzow didn’t take the hint:
Schatzow argued that Allen provided nothing at their meeting in May 2015 that required disclosure to the defense, and described Allen’s comments there as entirely unreliable and contradictory — so much so, in fact, that they don’t intend to call him as a witness.
Schatzow is misrepresenting the truth. He didn’t call Allen because his testimony would reveal the prosecutors as corrupt politicians content to put innocent police officers in prison. He couldn’t stop trying:
Schatzow also said Thursday that the state believes Allen was coached on what to say in his initial statement to police by another police officer, Officer Zachary Novak, who the state granted immunity in order to testify before the grand jury — where he denied the coaching accusation.
Does Schatzow actually believe this, or is he accusing another innocent police officer of wrong doing to hide his own corruption? Notice that the judge clearly understood what Schatzow was doing:
Williams noted that prosecutors had previously tried to discredit Allen’s statement to police by saying he had been high on heroin and Xanax when he gave it. In part because of that, Williams said, the subsequent proffer session with Gray was ‘classic exculpatory evidence’ in that, during that session, Allen repeated the thrust of his statement to police in a different environment where he is not alleged to have been high or under the pressure of police.
Clearly, the prosecution is desperate to avoid Allen’s testimony. Their argument that his testimony is unreliable is in part based on his backpedaling in the media after he discovered–sometime after the secret May 7 proffer session–that the person banging their head in the van was Freddie Gray. Obviously, Allen decided his street cred, perhaps even his survival, was dependent on portraying Gray as a politically holy martyr.
My concern becomes what else is out there,’ Williams said to Schatzow. ‘If your office doesn’t get that, I don’t know where we are at this point.
I know where we are: on the verge of every case against the officers blowing up. This new information will also make it far easier for the attorneys in the civil suits filed against the prosecutors to prove malice and evil intent.
The Defense has said it will call Allen to testify, and with the original transcript of his interview shortly after the incident on April 12, and the new information about a second interview on May 4th, and the disastrous–for the prosecution–proffer session on May 7th, they will be able to prove, particularly since only Judge Williams is hearing the case, the truth of things, and the truth of the prosecution’s malicious corruption. Keep in mind, gentle readers, that the prosecutors said they did not record or keep notes from the May 4th or May 7th interviews with Allen, thus making themselves witnesses.
The invaluable Andrew Branca at Legal Insurrection, as regular readers know, has been following the case as well, and he has posted a copy of the motion, and of the transcript of the April 12th interview of Allen. I reproduce the particularly relevant portions here. I recommend taking the link and reading the whole thing–it’s not much longer–and judging whether Allen sounds like someone so impaired by drugs that he is incoherent or irrational. Remember: we know that he said the same things on May 4 and May 7th. If Allen had testimony that would have supported the prosecution’s social justice narrative, we may be certain they would have featured him in every trial to date.
Remember that if the narrative is correct, Freddie Gray would have been entirely incapacitated, unable to breathe or move, no later than the 4th stop, long before Donta Allen was placed in the other compartment of the van. He could not have made the slightest noise for Allen to hear. Any “rough ride’–and the prosecution has no such evidence–must have taken place prior to then. However, if the defense is correct, any rough ride must have taken place between the 5th and final stops. Here are excerpts from the interview, conducted by Detectives Michael Boyd and Joseph Poremski:
Mr. Allen: Well when I was in the police van, we were just riding, and I heard some—I don’t know somebody was on the other side at first. You know what I mean? But I heard him telling—banging himself. I know there was nobody in the—nobody else in there but me and him. Once I found out he was in there, and I found out, you know, what happened—he was banging. It sounded like he was banging his head against the metal, like he was trying to knock himself out or something.
I heard him back there. It sounded like he was just crazy or something, like he was a crazy man or something. I don’t know. I still haven’t seen him.
Allen said he was on the right side of the van, and Gray–he didn’t know his identity as he was giving the statement–was on the left. He said only he and Gray were in the van.
Mr. Allen: No, I wasn’t paying no attention. Now probably before I got in, if I would have looked more on the other side, I probably would have seen him, but I didn’t pay attention.
Allen made it clear that Gray’s banging began when the van began moving, and continued for a short time. Allen does not appear to be impaired at all:
Mr. Allen: No, like moving, like moving like in the middle of when—like we first started, and a little bit, he started banging his head.’
Det. Boyd: ‘Was he saying anything, when he was banging his head?’
Mr. Allen: ‘No, he was just banging his head. —and I thought it was a fiend, like a dope fiend or something like that. You know what I’m saying? That’s what I thought.
Allen was right. Gray was under the influence of drugs. Allen told Boyd Gray was loudly banging his head:
Mr. Allen: It was like–he wasn’t doing it hard and shit, but he was definitely banging himself in the head. I know he was. [skip] About four or five times, something like that, three, four, five times. [skip] He was banging it pretty hard. He was banging his head pretty hard.
This is particularly important:
…And then we got there [the jail] and I realized, I was like, Man, he probably knocked himself out. They said he was unconscious.
This too is particularly important:
Det. Poremski: …And your ride over, do you remember, when you were riding there, did you hit any big bumps, potholes? Did you—was it a smooth ride? Was it rough? Was it, you know, any kind of—‘
Mr. Allen: I was fine.
Det. Boyd: There wasn’t no tossing or turning, no like sudden stops or nothing like that?
Mr. Allen: No. [skip]
Det. Boyd: So it was just a smooth ride?
Mr. Allen: Smooth ride.
Detectives Boyd and Poremski gave Allen every chance to tell them that Officer Goodson gave him a rough ride, but Allen wasn’t biting:
Det. Boyd: So nothing? At any point, you didn’t hit your head. You didn’t—a bump or anything like that?
Mr. Allen: Ain’t no reason to.
Det. Boyd: So it’s safe to say, in your opinion, if he was banging his head, he was doing it on his own accord?
Mr. Allen: Yes sir.
Det. Boyd: Wasn’t nobody forced him? It wasn’t like the way the officer was driving or anything like that?
Mr. Allen: No sir.
On April 12, Donta Allen had no reason to lie. He was upset that the police put him in a van with someone he thought crazy. His testimony about what he experienced on that brief van ride could not possibly help or hurt him; his arrest that day had nothing to do with Freddie Gray. Remember that he repeated the same things twice thereafter, on May 4th and May 7th. It was only after he learned that he had been in the van with Freddie Gray, and realized what that might mean, that he changed his story, and then, only to the media, never the authorities.
As I’ve previously noted, Allen is a self-impeaching witness. He is currently serving a 10-year sentence for armed robbery. But we’re not talking about a gullible jury, but a judge who already knows that the prosecution has lied to him, and has tried to conceal exculpatory evidence, on at least three occasions. The evidence the Defense will present will prove, beyond any doubt, that if Donta Allen was truthful once in his life, it was during the April 12 interview. During that interview, he admitted he was not fond of the police, but never saw or heard them lay a hand on Gray or do anything they should not have done. For once in his life, circumstances will make Donta Allen convincing.
Even NBC News smells blood in the legal water. In an article titled Could Outcome in Caesar Goodson Trial Spell End for Freddie Gray Case?
they make the obvious point that any rational, ethical prosecutor should drop every case if they can’t convict Goodson. For one of the reliable, national supporters of any social justice narrative to ask such questions is a sign that the prosecutors are on political, and hopefully, professional, life support.
This case, as I predicted long ago, becomes more like the George Zimmerman case with every new revelation of prosecutorial corruption. In that case, the prosecution also withheld exculpatory evidence, lied, foot dragged, and behaved so unethically that any other lawyers would be been disbarred, perhaps imprisoned, had they not been participating in a sanctioned, political prosecution. Angela Corey is still in office, and one of the prosecutors in that case has been rewarded with a judgeship.
Ethical prosecutors are delighted to provide every bit of evidence they have, even if they are not obligated to provide it, because they don’t file cases they can’t prove. Everything they willingly give to the Defense proves their case, and convinces the Defense to beg the best plea bargain they can get. Prosecutors normally have cordial, even friendly relationships with defense attorneys, because they all have to do business on a daily basis. The system works best if everyone is not at each other’s throats. If everyone seeks the impartial, honest application of justice, behaving professionally and amiably is not difficult.
When prosecutors hide evidence, lie to the court and to defense attorneys, it is usually because they know they have no case, and they are desperate to keep that information–their own corruption–secret. So it is in the Freddie Gray case. They are seeking “justice for Freddie Gray,” by destroying the rule of law for everyone.
It is now undeniable. The Prosecution knew that Freddie Gray wasn’t injured until after the 5th stop. Donta Allen’s April 12 statement confirmed it, and Carol Allan’s medical examiner’s report did too, until the prosecutors convinced her to change it. They filed probable cause statements for the officers on May 1, and on May 4 and May 7, knew that Allen had not changed his story. They knew the officers were telling the truth when they said they thought Gray was faking medical problems until he arrived at the jail and was actually injured. They had all the facts necessary, and they chose, for political purposes, to lie, to conceal evidence, and to maliciously, unethically prosecute innocent police officers doing their jobs exactly as any rational citizen would want them done.
The prosecution arguably suborned perjury, putting on witnesses they knew with not telling the whole truth, misleading the court, and persecuting the defendants.
I have, throughout this case, maintained that if additional evidence requiring I change my views came up, I would alter those views as required. It has come up, and I have altered them accordingly. There is no secret, hidden evidence of the officer’s guilt. They did just what any other rational, responsible officer would have done in their place. The charges are a travesty and should be immediately dismissed against every officer. Every argument, every delaying tactic, forcing motions to higher courts, everything the prosecution has done, was done in bad faith. It was unethical, and horribly destructive, and they knew it. Any prosecutor even slightly involved in this should be disbarred. In a judicial system as corrupt as Maryland’s, that is, sadly, unlikely.
Think of all of the damage this vicious prosecution has done. The lives of these officers have been shredded. Even when they are completely exonerated, it will almost certainly be impossible for them to return to work in Baltimore. There will always be people who think them guilty, and of course, social justice forces will never be able to admit the truth, and will agitate against them, and the police in general.
The relationship between the prosecutors and the police is in ashes, and it may take generations to repair. That fact alone gives a tremendous advantage to criminals and to corrupt politicians, both of whom prey on the innocent, particularly the poor, minority communities politicians claim to love and want to protect.
The Freddie Gray case has been used by corrupt politicians around the nation to further damage the relationship between the people and the police that serve them. There are, surely, unprofessional police officers, but this case has done nothing to identify or reform them, and everything to damage the ability of our nation’s overwhelmingly honest and professional police officers to suppress crime.
And then there is the Obama/Lynch Department of Justice, which has had its social justice hooks into Baltimore and the BPD since the beginning. Even when every officer is exonerated, the DOJ will still take fiscal and operational control of Baltimore, making it impossible for the police to effectively do their jobs, and freeing criminals, particularly black criminals, to do as they will.
All this, and more, because local politicians in Baltimore, including a corrupt, new prosecutor, put social justice and their own careers over the rule of law. They gave it to the people of Baltimore, good and hard.
When all of the officers are exonerated, when the prosecutors involved are disbarred (one can hope), and when they, and the City, are forced to pay millions to the officers, then, and only then, will there be justice for Freddie Gray, and for every other citizen.