Baltimore officer said Freddie Gray asked for help

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Baltimore officer reportedly said Freddie Gray asked for medic during transport.

As Freddie Gray was being transported in a police van through West Baltimore, at least one officer warned that Gray needed medical care but wondered, along with others, whether he was faking injuries or being uncooperative, according to investigators who reviewed the officers’ statements during a departmental probe. Prosecutors have asked Circuit Judge Barry Williams to try William Porter first because they want to call him as a witness against Caesar Goodson and Alicia White.

Those statements — which have never been publicly revealed — help to explain why a judge has ordered separate trials for six officers charged in the incident. Some of the statements provide differing accounts of events that day; defense attorneys have argued in court that such conflicts could create problems in a joint trial. Officer William Porter told police investigators that after being summoned to check on Gray on the morning of April 12, he told the van’s driver that the city booking facility would not process Gray because he was in medical distress. After Gray’s response that he wanted to go to the hospital, Porter told the van’s driver, Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., that the booking facility wouldn’t take Gray, but he wasn’t sure if Gray was really in distress or just wanted to go to the hospital instead of jail, according to the Sun. However, defense attorneys indicated in a filing that some defendants might seek postponements because of “discovery issues” regarding evidence and witnesses.

That sequence of events was drawn from a police account of Porter’s statement, provided as part of an initial police review of Gray’s fatal injury in police custody; Goodson was the only officer charged in Gray’s arrest and transport who did not provide a statement to investigators. Porter wasn’t there during Gray’s arrest, but met the police van at one of several stops it made before delivering Gray to the Western District station house roughly 45 minutes after he was detained. Prosecutors say Gray told Porter he couldn’t breather and asked for medical attention, but instead of calling for medical help, Porter helped Gray off the floor and onto the bench and didn’t secure him with a seatbelt, a violation of department policy. Porter then followed the van to another stop, where prosecutors say Porter, along with Goodson and White, opened the van again to observe Gray, but this time the man was unresponsive. Some officers have argued that they made their statements under duress because they feared losing their jobs, or were led to believe they were providing statements as witnesses rather than suspects.

Gray died April 19 from an injury sustained in police custody, according to prosecutors, and his death triggered massive protests that devolved into looting and rioting. As police investigators tried to determine how Gray sustained his fatal injury, prosecutors used the local sheriff’s office to conduct a parallel probe. Recently, the city agreed to pay $6.4 million to Gray’s family to settle any civil claims; in that agreement, neither the city nor its officers acknowledged any wrongdoing.

The Sun reports that White said in her statement that Porter told her Gray’s medical problem was “jail-it is.” She said none of the officers told her that Gray had asked to be transported to a hospital. Because police gave The Sun access to the investigation, information that “contends to represent our clients’ statements is being disclosed at a time and in a manner which is both unfair and unconstitutional. Several arresting officers followed, and according to some of their statements, they could see Gray rocking the van, beating on the doors and yelling. In the days following Gray’s death, police said that after Gray was put in the back of the van, he began acting “irate,” necessitating the leg shackles.

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