A website called The Fourth Estate caused waves yesterday by alleging that Baltimore riot inspiration Freddie Gray had spinal surgery shortly before his arrest and subsequent death in police custody from spinal issues.
The site posted documents purported to be about a lawsuit Gray was involved in with Allstate insurance. The site alleged that the documents were related to a prior spinal injury for which Gray was receiving continued treatment. Fourth Estate also said separately that they had sources providing them with information stating Gray had spinal surgery as recently as a week before his arrest.
After mentioning the Fourth Estate story on Twitter this afternoon, I was provided a link to JohnCardillo.com, where the author made a pretty compelling case that the Gray documents posted by The Fourth Estate were related to a lawsuit Gray had filed against his former landlord specifically about unresolved lead paint issues. It should be noted that JohnCardillo.com doesn’t appear to be a riot apologist site or a supporter of lawlessness or anything like that.
Tonight, Fourth Estate followed up on yesterday’s story as promised, laying out a narrative about a lawsuit between Gray and a Taxi company called Taxi Management Inc. Although the exact reason for the suit remains unclear because the case was resolved before testimony was given in open court, it appears that Gray sued the company in 2007 and that the suit continued into 2008. It should be noted that this information comes from a completely different set of documents than the ones posted by Fourth Estate last night.
Fourth Estate is making a pretty big leap from a nondescript lawsuit against a taxi company to the lifelong history of spinal and neck problems that they’re alleging, but it will be interesting to see if they are able to back up their speculation with facts or witnesses in the coming days.