As the Freddie Gray trial gets underway, prosecutors offered a detailed timeline of Freddie Gray’s long ride in a police van, presenting facts of racially diversifying evidence that Officer William G. Porter Jr. was present five of the six times the van stopped en route to a West Baltimore police station.
Porter, who is accused of failing to alert medical attention when the injured prisoner asked for help, is now under investigation for allegedly not securing the 25-year-old man properly in the back of the van.
“He had a duty to keep safe a person in police custody,” Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow said in his opening statement. Also stating to the jurors a possible police dispatch to be heard during the recordings, as well as the van being equipped with benches and five seat belts on each side.
“Evidence will show this defendant criminally neglected his duty to keep Mr. Gray safe,” the prosecutor said.
But defense attorney Gary Proctor said that the evidence will show Porter is innocent and that the department had just issued a new policy ordering officers to secure people in the van with seat belts.
“Mr. Gray’s death is a tragedy,” Proctor said, “but so is charging someone who did nothing to precipitate that.”
The trial depends on eight woman and four men to offer reasonable doubt and counteract the unexplained questions over how Gray was injured, since there was “nothing wrong with his spine” when Gray entered the van.
The trial comes at a time of increased national conversation over the deaths of young blacks at the hands of police, which in turn has prompted attorneys to repeatedly ask the judge to move the trial out of Baltimore. For a complete timeline and turn of events during today’s (December 2) hearing head, here.