Prosecution Rests Case in Trial of Officer William Porter

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Image via WCVB
Image via WCVB

According to WBAL, prosecutors from the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office rested their case against Baltimore police officer William Porter. Over the last several days, the prosecution argued that Porter failed to call for medical attention for Freddie Gray, and didn’t seat belt the 25-year-old following his arrest in West Baltimore in April. 

Gray suffered a severed spine while being transported for 45 minutes in the back of a police van around West Baltimore on April 12. He went into a coma, and died the next week. Protests followed, giving way to unrest on April 27 that lead to a citywide curfew. Porter’s trial, which is the first of six for Baltimore police officers accused in the case, has brought national media to town. Porter is charged with manslaughter, assault,

During the trial, jurors saw a videotape of Porter acknowledging that he did not put Gray in a seatbelt, according to the AP. Additionally, Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Carol Allan explained why she classified Gray’s death as a homicide, which led to the charges against police. She said Gray’s spine was “kinked” by the injury in the back of the van, and he likely suffocated, the New York Times reports. At the van’s fourth stop, prosecutors say Porter should have called for medical attention, but sat him back up in the van without a seatbelt. Allan testified that Gray was likely injured by that stop. Jurors also saw the van that transported Gray.

On Monday, Porter’s lawyers brought new evidence to light that Gray may have had a prior back injury. That led the lawyers to call for a mistrial, which the judge denied, Reuters reports. Allan said she had not seen evidence of a prior injury during her autopsy.

In the video statement, Porter said he didn’t think there was an emergency because he didn’t see any outward signs of injury to Gry. At the van’s fifth stop, he found Gray unresponsive, and another officer tried to revive Gray. When that was unsuccessful, the other officer said “oh s— we need to call a medic.”

Porter’s lawyers are set to begin their case on Wednesday by calling another group of witnesses. Porter himself is expected to take the stand.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.

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