William Porter, the Baltimore police officer whose trial in the Freddie Gray case ended in a mistrial, testified against Officer Caesar Goodson Monday, saying Gray twice asked for help during the van ride that ultimately led to his death.
Officer Goodson – who faces second-degree depraved heart murder as well as manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment charges – was responsible for getting Gray to a hospital, Porter said. Gray died last April after suffering a severe spinal injury, which he likely sustained after the van made an abrupt stop. He was not buckled into a seat belt.
Because Porter was granted limited immunity, his testimony cannot be used against him during his September retrial, NBC reports.
Porter’s testimony detailed Gray’s 45 minute ride and the six stops made on the day he was injured. At stop two, Gray was kneeling on his knees, on the floor and was facing the driver compartment, Porter said.
Porter testified that Gray said “help” only once when prompted during the wagon’s fourth stop, when Goodson called Porter for backup. At the time, Gray seemed “lethargic” and was “calm”. The defense had Porter physically demonstrate what Gray looked like at stop four and during the demonstration he testified that there was no blood, lacerations and Gray’s breathing pattern was normal at that time.
“We were close” in the van and everything appeared normal to him, Porter said.
When Porter asked if he needed help, it was then that Gray said he wanted to go to the hospital. Porter told the other officers to take Gray to the hospital, adding that he was “not going to pass central booking.”
When asked if Goodson agreed to take Gray to the hospital, Porter told prosecutors he couldn’t recall. By the time they got to the sixth stop, Porter said he “did not believe Gray needed any immediate medical attention,” NBC reports.
Porter is the state’s 12th witness against Goodson, who is the third of six officers to go to trial in Gray’s case.