Defence rests in trial for officer accused in death of Freddie Gray

BALTIMORE -- The defence rested Friday in the manslaughter trial of Baltimore police officer William Porter after a department captain testified Porter went beyond the call of duty in assisting the driver of the police van in which Freddie Gray's neck was broken.

See Full Article

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams sent the jury of seven women and five men home for the weekend after the defence rested early in the afternoon. Lawyers argued about jury instructions later Friday. The jury will hear the instructions and closing arguments Monday.

Grey was a 25-year-old black man arrested April 12 after he ran from police in a West Baltimore neighbourhood. His death a week later set off protests and rioting in the city, and became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Porter, 26, who is also black, is the first of six officers to stand trial for Gray's death. He is charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. He could face about 25 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

The trial began Nov. 30.

Porter's lawyers called 12 witnesses over three days, ending with Porter's mother, Helena. Like three other character witnesses, she described Porter as truthful, honest and peaceful, but all acknowledged they had never worked with him.

Earlier Friday, Capt. Justin Reynolds, testifying as an expert in police training and policies, said Porter did nothing wrong on the day Gray was hurt. Porter says he interacted with Gray at two of the van's six stops after responding in his patrol car to calls for assistance. The van's 45-minute trip ended with Gray unconscious at the Western District police station.

Porter told investigators that at the fourth stop, he helped the handcuffed and shackled prisoner move from the wagon floor to the bench and asked Gray if he needed medical help. After Gray said, "yes," Porter contends he advised van driver Officer Caesar Goodson that Gray wanted to go to the hospital.

Porter says he told a supervisor, Sgt. Alicia White, the same thing at the van's fifth stop.

Reynolds said those actions "go beyond what many officers would have done."

"An officer expects, when they tell a supervisor something, that the supervisor is going to act upon it," Reynolds said.

Prosecutors say Porter is partly responsible for Gray's death because he didn't call a medic immediately after Gray indicated he needed aid, and failed to buckle Gray in with a seat belt, a violation of department policy.

But Reynolds testified Porter's only duty was to check on Gray, as Goodson requested, and that his job was done after he lifted Gray onto the bench.

Porter testified earlier this week that Gray showed no signs of injury or distress when he assisted him to the bench, and that's why he didn't call an ambulance to the scene. Prosecutors contend Gray was already gravely injured by then.

Because Gray was in Goodson's custody, Goodson was primarily responsible for the prisoner's safety and well-being, Reynolds said.

An expert witness for the prosecution testified earlier that Porter had a shared duty to take care of Gray.

Reynolds said the department's seat belt policies are guidelines, not binding directives.

"It's a guideline you couple with good judgment and common sense," Reynolds said.

Reynolds testified that officers often take prisoners to hospitals in police transport vans, rather than calling an ambulance, if the detainee isn't having a medical emergency. He said at least 20 per cent of people arrested complain of injuries, but that in 2014, less than 2 per cent of prisoners were rejected for medical reasons at the Baltimore jail.

Prosecutors and defence lawyers offered conflicting views on how the judge should instruct jurors about deliberations. Defence attorneys don't want jurors told they can convict Porter for things he didn't do -- such as failing to seat belt the prisoner or failing to call an ambulance.

Prosecutors want jurors instructed they need only reach a consensus on either omission to reach a unanimous verdict on the manslaughter and assault charges.

Williams said he'll consider the arguments over the weekend.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • U.S. Navy captain in charge of USS Fitzgerald during collision to lose command

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - Poor seamanship and flaws in keeping watch contributed to a collision between a Navy destroyer and a commercial container ship that killed seven sailors, Navy officials said, announcing that the warship captain will be relieved of command and more than a dozen other sailors will be punished. Source
  • Threat looms of more mudslides in Sierra Leone amid burials

    World News CTV News
    FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - The president joined with families in paying final respects Thursday to victims of this week's mudslides and flooding in Sierra Leone's capital, while the government warned residents to evacuate a mountainside where a large crack opened. Source
  • Suspects with bomb belts killed in Cambrils after Barcelona terror attack, police say [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    BARCELONA, Spain — A white van jumped the sidewalk Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. In a photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street of the northern Spanish city Thursday afternoon, apparently being helped by police and others. Source
  • Father charged in baby boy's fatal OD

    World News CTV News
    HAMILTON, Ohio -- An Ohio man has been charged in the fatal drug overdose of his 1-year-old son. Thirty-three-year-old Dorrico Brown, of Trenton, Ohio, was jailed Wednesday on charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangering in the death of Dorrico Brown Jr. Source
  • 'I know how powerful hate is' — A one-time Canadian neo-Nazi speaks out on Charlottesville

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    It has been 10 years since Elizabeth Moore has spoken publicly about her years as the pretty, public face of Canada’s neo-Nazi Heritage Front. Then came Charlottesville. “I know what these people are feeling. I know how powerful hate is,” Moore says from her Toronto home. Source
  • U.S. helping clear 'historic' amount of explosives in Mosul

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- The wires protruding from the small, misshapen stuffed animal revealed the deadly booby-trap tucked inside. For the people of Mosul, the sophisticated bomb was a reminder of how difficult it will be to return to homes littered with hidden explosives by Islamic State militants and dotted with the remnants of undetonated bombs dropped by the U.S. Source
  • As terrorists turn to truck attacks, cities invest in street-proofing

    World News CTV News
    Nice. Berlin. London. And now, Barcelona. Deadly attacks involving rented vehicles driven into crowds of pedestrians have been carried out in several cities with a horrific degree of similarity. In fact, the brutal method is promoted by ISIS online. Source
  • As terrorists turn to vehicle attacks, cities invest in street-proofing

    World News CTV News
    Nice. Berlin. London. And now, Barcelona. Deadly attacks involving rented vehicles driven into crowds of pedestrians have been carried out in several cities with a horrific degree of similarity. In fact, the brutal method is promoted by ISIS online. Source
  • Boat overturns off Haiti; 6 dead and at least 10 missing

    World News CTV News
    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Authorities in Haiti say at least six people drowned and about 10 are missing after a boat overturned off the northern coast. Local Civil Protection agency representative Jose Rethone says 23 people have been rescued and a search is continuing for more survivors near the city of Port-de-Paix. Source
  • No Canadians reported among dead or injured in Spain terror attack: Global Affairs [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Canadians in Spain are being urged to avoid the Las Ramblas area in Barcelona, where a van has plowed through a crowd in the popular tourist area near the city centre. Global Affairs Canada is also urging Canadians in Spain to let their “loved ones know you are safe. Source