Internal affairs detective pressed on grand jury testimony, cooperation with NAACP
After the state rested its case Friday morning, the defense team for three officers accused of misconduct called an interesting first witness: the lead Baltimore Police internal affairs detective who investigated the case for a year but was not called as a state witness.
Det. Lakishna DeGraffinried said she became the primary investigator two days after the allegations first surfaced that the officers - Tyrone Francis, Gregory Hellen and Milton Smith - had allegedly driven a teenager to Howard County and left him there without shoes or a cell phone.
But DeGraffinried seemed to have little grasp of the case. She repeatedly told defense attorney Kenneth Ravenell that she had not testified before the grand jury, then Ravenell produced the transcript of her grand jury testimony. She then claimed that her testimony had come from information prepared by someone else.
She also said she did not know what became of the blue van driven by the police officers and processed for evidence by the crime lab. And she shrugged when asked by defense attorneys why evidence that could justify the officers' actions was not presented to the grand jury.
Curiously, she also testified that the teenage victim's statements to police were faxed to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which at that point was publicly calling for charges against the officers. In opening statements, defense attorneys said the NAACP had been improperly involved in the investigation. Ravenell asked if providing statements to outside agencies in the midst of ongoing investigations was typical - she said no.
We'll have more from this trial as it continues to unfold.