Currently it is being reported the investigation into Freddie Gray’s death will be complete by Friday. However, the same media reports are saying the results will not be made immediately public. This is odd considering the surrounding ideology of Baltimore which would be highly favorable to a finding of wrongdoing by the police.
If the investigation revealed police wrongdoing there is nothing in the Baltimore political apparatus which would keep it hidden from public. Ergo, there’s a possibility any report would contain exculpatory information beneficial to the police.
Which brings us to a potential game changing discovery showing up in some social media about Freddie Gray having spinal surgery shortly before the events outlined within the controversial encounter. It must be noted however, that none of this is factually confirmed and we should research further.
The story is in essence:
“Freddie Gray had a pre-existing spinal and neck injury [from a car accident] and had severe damage and scar tissue from an accident that Allstate insurance was paying via a large structured settlement.
Freddie had several unsuccessful spinal fusion surgeries, and his most recent spinal/cervical operation was a week and a half before he was arrested. Freddie should have been at home in bed resting and recovering from this recent major operation.
If you look on Howard County Civil Court records you will find a case whereby Freddie Gray Jr. was trying to cash in his monthly structured Allstate settlement into a lump sum payout through Peachtree funding”.
[…] EXCLUSIVE: The Fourth Estate has learned that Freddy Gray’s life-ending injuries to his spine may have possibly been the result of spinal and neck surgery that he allegedly received a week before he was arrested, not from rough excessively rough treatment or abuse from police.
The Fourth Estate has contacted sources who allege that Freddy Gray received spinal and neck surgery a week before we was arrested, and was allegedly receiving a large structured settlement from Allstate Insurance. The surgery is allegedly related to a car accident in which Gray was involved (more)
Indeed there is a civil tort case in the Circuit Court for Howard County – Civil System listing Freddie Gray Jr. as party to a civil action structured between Peachtree Settlement Funding LLC and Allstate Life Insurance Company. (link)
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CASE # 13C14101574 “Freddie Gray Jr” Howard County:
Whether the actual facts -as laid out beyond the settlement claim- are true is unknown. However, any report claiming the above related to a “car accident” seem sketchy at best. In a previous Baltimore Media article the following was noted:
[…] As children, he and his two sisters were found to have damaging lead levels in their blood, which led to multiple educational, behavioral and medical problems, according to a lawsuit they filed in 2008 against the owner of a Sandtown-Winchester home they rented for four years.
With so much of its housing stock predating laws banning lead in paint, Baltimore continues to wrestle with the after-effects on thousands of children who have inhaled or ingested the toxic metal.
[…] The siblings filed the lawsuit against Stanley Rochkind and several corporations associated with him. (Originally, the suit also targeted the owner of another home where the family lived, but that defendant was ultimately dropped.)
Rochkind is well known for owning hundreds of rentals in the city over the years, many of which have drawn lead paint lawsuits. In 2001, he was fined $90,000 by the Maryland Department of the Environment as part of a consent agreement that required him to rid some 480 rental units in Baltimore of lead paint. (link)
What would appear more likely is the Howard County civil action is some kind of request by Freddie Gray and his Sister for a lump sum payment, or changes in relation to the lead paint lawsuit litigants.
Obviously if Freddie Gray Jr. did FACTUALLY have spinal and neck surgery less than two weeks before his encounter with police resulting in death from a spinal injury – such a revelation would be a game changer.
Perhaps the media will begin to look a little closer at the claim. Perhaps it is an unfounded and unwarranted claim. However, it is very interesting and deserves further inquiry.
UPDATE 04/29 6:00pm – The Baltimore Sun Looked Into The Claims:
[…] Paperwork was filed in December allowing Gray and his sister, Fredericka to each collect an $18,000 payment from Peachtree Settlement Funding, records show. In exchange, Peachtree would have received a $108,439 annuity that was scheduled to be paid in $602 monthly installments between 2024 and 2039.
In her documents, Fredericka Gray checked “other” when asked to describe the type of accident. She also said that the date of the accident was “94/99” and that she was a minor when the case was settled.
In his documents, Freddie Gray checked “work injury, medical malpractice and auto accident” as the type of accident. When asked to explain, he also wrote something that is unreadable. He also wrote something unreadable when asked if he was a minor when the case was settled.
Both cases were filed at the same time by a New Jersey law firm. A Judge Dismissed the case on April 2 when neither Gray nor his sister appeared in court, records show.
Baltimore attorney William H. “Billy” Murphy, who represents the Gray family, confirmed that the Howard County case was connected to the lead paint lawsuit.
Jason Downs, an attorney who is with Murphy’s firm and represents one of Gray’s relatives, said, “We have no information or evidence at this point to indicate that there is a prior pre-existing spinal injury. It’s a rumor.” (read more)
The highlighted response is a little weird from the Freddie Gray family attorney. One would think a simple affirmative statement saying there was no pre-existing spinal injury would have been a little more emphatic.
Then again, this is a lawyer speaking.