BALTIMORE (AP/WJZ)–An officer testifying against a van driver charged in the death of a 25-year-old man in police custody said he told the driver that the man needed to go to a hospital only because he wouldn’t be admitted to jail if he requested medical aid there.
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Officer William Porter was the state’s 12th witness against Officer Caesar Goodson, the wagon driver facing second-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges stemming from the death of Freddie Gray. Porter’s trial in the Gray case ended in mistrial. He will be tried again in September.
“Officer Porter said right up at the beginning that he had spoken and cooperated with the defense so I don’t think they were expecting any surprises,” said David Jaros, University of Baltimore.
Gray died April 19, a week after his neck was broken in the back of Goodson’s van while he was handcuffed and shackled, but not buckled into a seat belt.
“If it’s my son who’s in the back of that van, handcuffed and shackled and left without protection, I certainly would argue that showed indifference,” said Doug Colbert, University of Maryland law professor.
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Porter testified that Gray said help only once during the wagon’s fourth stop, when Goodson called Porter for backup. Porter said Gray then asked him to help him up onto the wagon’s bench. He added that Gray said he wanted to go to the hospital after Porter asked him if he needed aid.
Porter added that he told Goodson that Gray needed to go to the hospital not because he was injured but because he said “the magic words,” which was that he wanted a medic.
“Freddie Gray aided them with his legs in getting up off the floor,” said Warren Brown.
Prosecutors say Goodson gave Gray a “rough ride” and was negligent when he failed to take Gray to the hospital. Goodson’s attorneys say the officer did nothing wrong.