( 4UMF NEWS ) Second Officer In Freddie Gray Case Goes To Trial:
The trial for the Baltimore police officer facing the most serious charge in the death of Freddie Gray was postponed Monday by a state appeals court.
Jury selection was to begin Monday for Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., accused of second-degree depraved-heart murder, manslaughter and other charges. But the appeals court halted the proceedings while it determines whether another officer must testify at Goodson’s trial.
Goodson drove the van that transported Gray after his arrest on minor charges April 12. Gray, 25, was shackled and placed in the van, but officers did not restrain him with a seat belt. After a 45-minute ride that included several stops, Gray was unresponsive when the van arrived at the Western District Police Station. He suffered a severe spinal injury and died a week later.
Six officers are charged in the case, but only Goodson did not provide a statement to investigators in the case. In pre-trial hearings last week, prosecutors indicated they might try to show that Goodson was giving Gray a tumultuous ride to punish him for running from the arresting officers.
Goodson could face 30 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.
Gray’s death prompted “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations and sometimes violent protests. Gray, Goodson and two other accused officers are black.
The trial for the first officer charged in the case ended in a mistrial last month. That jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict in the case of Officer William Porter on involuntary manslaughter assault, misconduct and reckless endangerment counts. Porter was accused of failing to belt Gray into the van and then failing to provide medical assistance when Gray asked for it.
Prosecutors want Porter to testify at Goodson’s trial, but Porter’s lawyers balked and the appeals court has not issued a final ruling.
Porter’s testimony could be crucial. At his own trial, Porter testified that he was in the van for most of the ride to the police station. Porter said Gray did not appear injured and kicked and yelled for most of the journey. Gray didn’t ask for medical assistance but agreed when Porter asked him if he wanted to go to a hospital, Porter said. But Porter testified that Goodson declined to go to the hospital, instead stopping to pick up another prisoner.
When the van finally arrived at the police station, Gray was unresponsive.
Trials for the other four officers — three white, one black — are scheduled for the next few months. Porter is schedule for a retrial after those trials are completed.