Officer testifies van driver was responsible for getting Freddie Gray help

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Baltimore leaders say they’ll block $2M for legal fees in police case, Gray settlement at risk.

BALTIMORE—Lawyers for police Officer William Porter wrapped up their defense in his manslaughter trial in connection with the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.A Baltimore police captain testified Friday that it was the van driver transporting Freddie Gray who responsible for getting him medical aid, not backup officer William G.BALTIMORE — Leaders on Baltimore’s City Council say they’ll block the mayor’s $2 million proposal for outside lawyers to represent the city during the U.S.

In a case that revolves around what Porter did or did not do during a few key encounters with Gray, Porter addressed those questions directly in his testimony. When asked about whether Porter had a duty to strap Gray into the van or call a medic as Baltimore police department orders dictate, Longo testified that individuals officers have discretion based on the conditions of the street. “The sergeant should have considered her own assessment to determine if EMS (emergency medical services) or transport” was warranted, Longo said.

Gray, who is black, sustained a broken neck and wasn’t breathing when he was pulled from a police van last April, following a roughly 40-minute ride with six stops. Justin Reynolds, testifying as an expert witness in police training and policies, noted that Porter assisted Gray from the wagon floor to the bench, asked him if he needed medical help and suggested that wagon driver Caesar Goodson take him to the hospital.

He said Porter’s actions “go beyond what many officers would have done.” Porter is on trial facing manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges stemming from Gray’s death on April 19, a week after he was injured in the transport wagon. He says leaders support the settlement, but the fees leave a “bad taste.” President Jack Young says he believes outside attorneys will act as defense attorneys. Prosecutor say Porter is partially responsible for not calling for a medic when Gray indicated he needed aid, and for failing to buckle Gray into a seat belt. Baltimore police officers testifying in the trial of a colleague charged in a prisoner’s death say officers rarely put seat belts on people they transport in the department’s wagons. Prosecutors say it was there that Porter ignored Gray’s complaints that he couldn’t breathe, and his repeated cries for medical aid; instead of calling for an ambulance, which he could have done by pressing a button on a radio clipped to his uniform, Porter picked Gray up off the floor of the wagon and sat him on a bench.

Officer Michael Wood told jurors that of the roughly 100 arrests he’s been a party to, he’s never belted in a prisoner or observed another officer buckling in a detainee. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis stressed that his department is already making changes and reinvigorating its community engagement, “not waiting for the Department of Justice to tell us what to do”. “I’m offended you would even say something like that”. Alicia White, would have handled Gray’s request once she was on the scene. “An officer expects, when they tell a supervisor something, the supervisor’s going to act on it,” Reynolds said.

If jurors believe the state medical examiner’s assessment, they might conclude that Porter could have sought help immediately and saved Gray’s life. Reynolds characterized the department’s general orders are “guidelines,” not strict requirements. “There are parts of general orders you have to violate to do your job,” he said He cited a much-ignored rule that officers be quiet and civil at all times as an example. “Common sense prevails over everything else,” he said. The Maryland’s emergency management agency, the National Guard and the Maryland State Police are on standby in the event of any riots following a verdict in the case, a spokesman for Gov. Porter says he knew Freddie Gray and people in that neighborhood by their first names and he had a report with them, and he was trying to calm them down. Less than 1.5 percent of prisoners were rejected by central booking in 2014, he said, although he estimated that 20 to 30 percent complained of some illness or injury.

Preceding Reynolds, jurors heard from longtime friends who described “Little Bill” Porter as compassionate and truthful with a love for “good order.” “He is always very truthful and honest because he cares about people,” said a first-grade teacher in Baltimore County who went to college with Porter. He’s the peacemaker in whatever situation goes down.” Porter’s mother was 17 when she gave birth to him and worked hard to get her family out of West Baltimore, according to an interview she did with The Washington Post earlier this year. She enrolled him in programs at a Police Athletic League recreation center, where he played sports, ate free meals and made connections with officers. Donta Allen, who was being held in the same police wagon where Gray was fatally injured, is one of the last witnesses who has yet to appear in the high-profile trial.

But the defense hopes he will bolster their assertion that Gray was clearly alive and moving during the multiple stops when Porter interacted with him.

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