William G. Porter, 26, is charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
Porter, like the other officers, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The officer maintains that he wasn’t sure if Gray was faking his injuries on April 12, the day Gray was taken into police custody. Prosecutors contest that Porter had the opportunity to get medical attention for Gray. Porter’s attorneys pointed out Gray was a recognizable face in the neighborhood and there was “always a big scene whenever you attempted to arrest Freddie Gray.”
Gray was placed in a transport van in West Baltimore in shackles and handcuffs. Less than an hour later, he arrived at the police station unresponsive. The 25-year-old died a week later of spinal injuries he sustained in the van.
The Baltimore Sun reports:
The proceedings Monday will start with the search for a panel of city jurors who can be impartial — forgetting everything they’ve heard about the highly publicized case and dismissing any emotions about its impact on the city or their own neighborhoods. Porter’s attorneys have said it will be impossible to seat such a panel in Baltimore and that the trial must be moved. Prosecutors have said a fair jury can be seated, and that Baltimore residents deserve the chance to deliver justice in the case.
Judge Barry Williams has said the only way to find out is to call potential city jurors to the court and ask them during the jury selection process, known as voir dire, if they can be fair.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake repeatedly stated the officers will get a fair trial in the city. Rawlings-Blake says she and officials are aware of protests that will happen in the wake of the trial. In addition to monitoring social media and speaking with community leaders, they’re hoping unrest doesn’t return to the city.
“I’m confident. I’m prayerful. I’m hopeful,” Rawlings-Blake said. “This is a very tough time for our city. I trust the judge that has been assigned to this case. He understands what justice is, what fairness is. I know he will uphold the highest standards.”
“We’re having constant conversations and planning sessions,” she said. “The police have set up a joint information center. We’ve set up protocols for surrounding jurisdictions. We’re ready. We’re vigilant. Community members certainly don’t want the city to erupt in violence again. We’re listening.”
The remaining officers trials will begin in January and are expected to continue until the spring.
SOURCE: The Baltimore Sun | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform
Watch Roland Martin and Gray family attorney Billy Murphy talk about the start of the trial and what we should expect from the legal proceedings in the video clip below.