BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Less than two weeks until the trial is set to begin for the first Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray. It will be one of the biggest trials in Baltimore history.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren tells us more about Officer William Porter and how his life paralleled Gray’s.
Both men grew up near Gilmor Homes, they were both the same age, and their paths diverged until that fateful day in April.
William Porter and Freddie Gray grew up on the same rough streets of West Baltimore.
Porter eventually became an officer, patrolling Gilmor Homes. And while he knew of Gray, who often had run-ins with police, the two never met until April 12.
Shortly after police arrested Gray, according to prosecutors, Gray, who suffered severe spinal injuries, asked Porter two times for medical help, but Porter never called a medic.
Porter now lives with his parents on a quiet street in North Baltimore, where neighbors will be watching his trial closely.
“I think he’ll get more than a fair trial,” said William Hemphill. “In the city, people are hardworking and they’re fair people. Even though they don’t get treated fairly, they’re just fair people at heart.”
And it appears likely that jurors will hear from Porter himself. Legal analyst Andy Levy tells WJZ that’s risky.
“When a defendant takes the witness stand, quite frankly, bad things can happen,” said Levy.
The officers are also pushing to call as many as two dozen character witnesses.
“It’s unusual to have a case where even one character witness testifies; 25 is unprecedented,” said Levy.
Porter recently told The Washington Post: “If I had made different choices, I would have been Freddie Gray. If he had made different choices, he could have been an Officer Porter.
A number of pre-trial motions will be hashed out next week. The trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, November 30.
Stay with WJZ for complete coverage of the Freddie Gray case. We’ll bring you the latest developments from the courtroom.