A Baltimore man who met with city police officials in the aftermath of Freddie Gray's death said he told then-Police Commissioner Anthony Batts he was Gray's brother-in-law, even though he was a friend of the family. The childhood friend of Gray's said he met with Batts and other officials on April 23 and introduced himself as Gray's brother-in-law, which he considers himself.
Juan Grant, 29, a childhood friend of Gray's, said this week that he met with Batts and other officials on April 23 on behalf of the family. He said he introduced himself as Gray's brother-in-law, which he considers himself.
The meeting was the subject of a terse letter from William H. Murphy, Jr., the attorney hired by Gray's family, to Batts. The letter was among 7,000 emails and documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun this week in a public records request.
"It has come to our attention that you made statements claiming to have met with the family of Freddie Gray, Jr. about the investigation into his death," Murphy wrote on April 24. "These statements are not true. Stated succinctly, you have not met with Mr. Gray's family. Please cease and desist making such statements."
Murphy also told Batts that any meeting with the family would be facilitated by lawyers at the firm.
Asked about the email Monday, Murphy said, Batts "did not meet [Gray's] mother, stepfather, father or his siblings. He was giving the impression that he did."
Batts said Tuesday he was deceived about the circumstances of what he thought was a legitimate meeting with a member of Gray's family.
"I was lied to," he said. "[Then-Deputy Commissioner] Kevin Davis was lied to."
The meeting took place just days before the funeral of Gray, a 25-year-old who died of injuries sustained while in police custody. Large crowds of protesters were gathering daily around City Hall and in other parts of the city.
The meeting was initiated in a conversation between Grant and Lt. Col. Melvin Russell, the men said.