Officers: Nobody Buckles Prisoners Into Seat Belts

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

City Calling For Peace Ahead Of Verdict In First Freddie Gray Trial.

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore police officers rarely, if ever, put seat belts on prisoners they transport in the department’s wagons, according to witnesses who testified on behalf of William Porter, one of six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Police continue to say they have no problem with protests or demonstrations and they won’t monitor or follow them as long as they remain lawful, but violence and destruction will not be tolerated. Porter is facing manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges stemming from Gray’s death on April 19, a week after his neck was broken in the back of a transport wagon.

Porter sought Thursday to bolster his defense with testimony from a pair of experts: a police chief who said the officer behaved reasonably in not calling a medic for Freddie Gray, and a neurosurgeon who said Mr. Joined by community leaders Wednesday, the city cites new training and new state of the art riot equipment that has police prepared for whatever unfolds. “We view our role as a police department as one that keeps the peace during protests,” said Commissioner Kevin Davis, Baltimore City Police Department.

An assistant state medical examiner says she would not have ruled Freddie Gray’s death a homicide if a police van driver had taken Gray to the hospital, as Officer William Porter suggested. Prosecutors say Porter was criminally negligent for ignoring departmental policy requiring officers to seat belt prisoners, and for failing to call a medic immediately after Gray indicated he needed aid. Gray suffered a “catastrophic spinal cord injury” that paralyzed him “within milliseconds.” “I don’t think this was a survivable injury,” said Dr. With the first trial moving quicker than most expected, one group of protesters says they’re sending out an emergency email, putting demonstrators on standby for the verdict. “What we had during the unrest was nothing about justice. Porter testified he saw no signs that Gray was wounded or injured, and that it was the wagon driver’s responsibility to make sure Gray was fastened in a seat belt before driving away.

On Thursday, the second day of defense testimony, police officers told jurors that although the policy says all detainees should be buckled into seat belts, officers working the streets of Baltimore rarely adhere to those rules. Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams announced at the outset of Monday’s session that juror number eight, a woman, has been excused due to a medical emergency. Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said Porter, whose service weapon was clipped to his belt at the time of Gray’s arrest, likely didn’t want to risk climbing into a confined space with a detainee whom Porter believed had been kicking, shaking the wagon and resisting arrest. Seventy-two-year-old Arthur Johnson carried a sign Monday reading, “Justice for Freddie Gray.” The sign also bore a photo of the 25-year-old black man whose death from injuries he suffered in police custody prompted rioting in Baltimore last April.

Matthew Ammerman testified that Gray would have been instantly paralyzed from the neck down, whereas the state’s autopsy report concluded the injury and its effects were progressive. An autopsy report says Gray suffered the injury sometime between the second and fourth stop in the roughly 45-minute van ride between the scene of the arrest and when Gray was found unresponsive at the Western District station house, but could have been exacerbated because it wasn’t treated right away.

In Ammerman’s opinion, the injury occurred after Porter’s last exchange with Gray, at the van’s fifth stop, and before the prisoner was found unconscious at the sixth and final stop. Chief Longo, a consultant in police ethics and conduct, testified that Officer Porter’s actions were “objectively reasonable” even though, as prosecutors have repeatedly pointed out, the Baltimore Police Department’s guidelines require officers to call for a medic when a detainee asks for one, and to use seatbelts. Their testimony Thursday came as the defense was moving toward wrapping up its case; legal experts say closing arguments could come on Friday or early next week. Gray’s spinal cord was crushed sometime after the fifth stop — when Officer Porter had already left him — and that the injury was so severe it would have “immediately rendered him paralyzed, stopped him from breathing and unfortunately ended his life.” Officer Mark Gladhill, who worked alongside Officer Porter and who responded to calls for backup when Mr.

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