Witnesses Claim Freddie Gray’s Death Was a Homicide

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 9:  Arthur B. Johnson, 65, demonstrates outside Circuit Court on the first day in the trial of Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson Jr. on June 9, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. Officer Goodson, the van driver in the Freddie Gray case, is facing multiple charges including second-degree murder. This is the third trial related to the death of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody.  (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD – JUNE 9: Arthur B. Johnson, 65, demonstrates outside Circuit Court on the first day in the trial of Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson Jr. on June 9, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. Officer Goodson, the van driver in the Freddie Gray case, is facing multiple charges including second-degree murder. This is the third trial related to the death of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Three strong witnesses for the prosecution during the trial of Baltimore Police Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. this week painted a distinct picture of the circumstances around Freddie Gray’s April 2015 death. They said that Gray was noncombative, that he couldn’t have injured himself and that his preventable death was a homicide.

Goodson, 46, was the wagon driver who transported Gray. He is the only officer who did not give a statement to police investigators after Gray’s death—which, combined with the fact that he is not testifying in his defense, could make him look guilty, according to University of Baltimore law professor David Jaros. Goodson also faces the most serious charges, including depraved-heart murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Goodson was also not helped by the testimony of Officer William Porter. Although the two exchanged handshakes during the trial, Porter was compelled to testify as a witness for the state against Goodson, and his testimony was potentially damning.

Porter, who faces his own retrial in September after his first trial over Gray’s death ended in a mistrial, helped the prosecution by admitting that Gray was not a combative detainee, referring to him as “docile” and “lethargic.” During opening statements, the defense argued that it was not safe to fasten Gray’s seat belt because he was being disruptive.

Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow asked Porter if he had the opportunity to secure Gray in a seat belt.

Porter answered reluctantly: “I guess so.”

Porter said that he didn’t call a medic when Gray told him that he needed to go to a hospital. Porter testified that Gray was speaking normally and didn’t show any outward signs of a serious injury.

“You told Goodson that Gray said he would like to go to the hospital?” the prosecutor asked. “Did Goodson agree with you that he needed to go?”

“I don’t recall,” answered Porter.

The prosecution reminded Porter of a statement he made to police in which he said, “We should take him to the hospital because he’s not going to pass booking.”

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Source: The Root | Ericka Blount Danois