Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodson Attorneys Request Gray Medical Records


A  hearing on various pretrial motions in the case of Officer Caesar Goodson is set for this Wednesday, and according to documents posted on the court's website Thursday, the defense is seeking access to Freddie Gray's medical records.

CLICK HERE to read the various filings.
Goodson was the driver of the transport van that carried Gray to the Western District when he was arrested on April 12.  It was in that van, where prosecutors believe that Gray suffered his fatal injuries.  He died a week later.
Goodson is charged with second degree murder, depraved heart and six other offenses.
In a motion dated December 17, defense attorneys Matthew Fraling and Andrew Graham request Gray's medical records dating back to April 12, 2010.
They cite a March interview that Gray gave with police Sgt. John Herzog in which Gray told him that he had a previous back injury.  
The transcript of the interview was provided to Goodson's defense team earlier this month, after the issue was raised in the trial of Officer William Porter.  Porter's attorney at the time had asked for a mistrial, after accusing the prosecution of failing to disclose records of the interview.  At the time, Judge Williams denied the request for a mistrial, but ordered prosecutors to hand over the transcript.  The evidence was never used by Porter's defense team at trial.  A mistrial in Porter's case was declared on December 16, after jurors told the judge they could not reach a unanimous verdict.  A new trial for Porter is scheduled for June 13.
In their requests for Gray's medical records, Fraling and Graham argue that Goodson's constitutional rights outweigh Gray's right to privacy.
The attorneys ask the judge as an alternative to having the prosecution turn over the records, that the attorneys be allowed to review the records in the judge's chambers, with prosecutors present.
Judge Williams had denied a similar motion in Porter's trial.
Like Porter's attorneys, Goodson's attorneys are asking the judge to sequester jurors, and if that is denied, the jurors be required to meet at a different location in the morning only to be brought to court by sheriff's deputies to avoid media and protesters.
Judge Williams denied a similar motion in the Porter case.
This motion was filed December 15, while the Porter jury was still deliberating, and Fraling and Graham ague that regardless of the outcome of the Porter trial, Goodson faces the risk in an "over-correction" by jurors who would feel pressured reach a guilty verdict.  
Jury selection for Officer Goodson is set for January 11.  
Wednesday's hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. at Courthouse East.

Source WBAL

Road Closures Scheduled Downtown For New Year's Eve


If you're driving around downtown tomorrow, expect street closures and parking restrictions for the annual New Year's Eve celebration and fireworks at the Inner Harbor.
City transportation officials have a list of traffic closures in place. One set of closures is in place from 2 p.m. Thursday to 2 a.m. Friday. During that time, commercial vehicles (not including taxis, buses and other modes of transportation) will not be allowed on the following stretches: 
  • Fayette Street from Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to President Street (no commercial vehicles may travel on or south of Fayette Street)
  • President Street from Aliceanna to Fayette Streets (no commercial vehicles on or west of President Street)
  • Light Street from Pratt Street to Key Highway
  • Key Highway from Light to McComas Streets
  • Hanover Street from McComas to Montgomery Streets (no commercial vehicles on or north of McComas Street, including Hanover Street)
  • Pratt and Lombard Streets from Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to President Street
  • I-395 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. split to Pratt Street (no commercial vehicles on I-395)
Another set of roads be closed to all traffic from 11 p.m. Thursday until the New Year's event is over.
  • Pratt Street will be closed at Charles Street – Pratt Street traffic will be diverted onto northbound Charles Street to continue east on Baltimore Street.
  • Lombard Street will be closed at President Street - Westbound Lombard Street traffic will be diverted north at President Street to continue west on Fayette Street.
  • Northbound I-395 traffic at Conway Street will be detoured north on Howard Street. No access will be allowed onto eastbound Conway Street.
  • Southbound Light Street at Lombard Street – Southbound Light Street traffic will be diverted onto Lombard Street to continue south on Sharp Street.
  • Northbound Light Street at Lee Street – Northbound Light Street traffic will be diverted onto Lee Street to continue north on Charles Street.
There are also several parking restrictions in effect from 6 p.m. Thursday to 3 a.m. Friday: Gay Street from Pratt to Fayette streets, Calvert Street from Pratt to Fayette streets, Baltimore Street from Charles to Gay streets, the south side of Key Highway from Light to William streets and designated emergency lanes.
Transportation officials urge revelers to take mass transit. Light Rail and Metro Subway will operate one hour after the fireworks, and the Charm City Circulator will operate with extended hours.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Video Of "Bold" Fatal Shooting Released By City Police


City police are asking for the public's help to identify people in a video who may know the victim or were suspects in a fatal shooting that claimed the life of an 18-year-old man.
WBAL-TV reports that officers were called to the 1000 block of Greenmount Avenue around 1:20 a.m. Monday for a report of a shooting.
Officers found the victim, later identified as Rykeise Shaw, with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. He was taken to an area hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
There are several people in the video that police said they want to talk with including a man selling something outside the location. They also want to talk with a man who's with the victim in the video and they want to identify and talk with two suspects.
"The video we just showed you is probably clear enough for someone to ID who that bad guy is. I don't care if it's a family member. We don't care if it's the mother of that suspect. He's a murderer and we need him off the street," Baltimore police media director T.J. Smith said.
Police said based on surveillance footage the shooting was not random.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ravens, Mallett Shock Steelers 20-17


The Baltimore Ravens fully expected to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers - even if few others gave them a chance of pulling off the upset.
In a season of defeats and injuries, the Ravens added a memorable chapter to this contentious rivalry with a 20-17 victory Sunday.
The Ravens (5-10) had lost three straight, the last two by a combined 69-20 score. In this one, however, they turned back the Steelers (9-6), who were riding a three-game winning streak and striving for a playoff berth.
''This might sound brash, but we believed the whole time that we were going to beat Pittsburgh,'' Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith said. ''Records, score, how good they're playing - nothing matters when you're playing Pittsburgh.''
Smith had an interception and limited the dangerous Antonio Brown to 61 yards, part of a strong defensive effort that gave Baltimore with its first season sweep of its AFC North rivals since 2011.
''It makes this season because obviously we can't go to the playoffs,'' Smith said.

Source WBAL

Sunday, December 27, 2015

One Dead After Car & Bus Collide


Maryland State Police are investigating after a woman is killed when her car collides with a Megabus.
Troopers say the accident occurred  at around 8:30 this morning, on Northbound 295 (Baltimore Washington Parkway) near the Beltway.
Troopers say the victim, 65-year-old Miriam Barnshaw of Centreville was riding in the car driven by her son, 40-year-old Brian Barnshaw of Centreville.
Investigators say the Barshaws were traveling on  westbound on the Beltway and exited onto northbound 295.  Brian Barnshaw lost control of his car, and it skidded into the commuter bus.
Miriam Barnshaw was pronounced dead at the scene.  Her son was taken by ambulance to Shock Trauma.
The bus was carrying 18 passengers.  None of them were hurt.
Maryland State Police ask  motorists who may have witnessed to call state police at the Glen Burnie Barrack at 410-761-5130

Source WBAL

Miller Promises Help For Baltimore City, Scrutiny Of Hogan Tax Cuts


Senate President Mike Miller promises lawmakers will work to approve a number of bills to help Baltimore City in the upcoming legislative session.
In an interview recorded for Sunday's Maryland's News This Week, Miller said there would be bills to address vacant housing, economic development, education funding and police accountability.
Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch had formed a task force to address police accountability in the wake of  the death of Freddie Gray.  
Miller said he would back legislation to make some changes to the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights. Those changes include reducing the amount of time officers accused of wrongdoing can wait   before they cooperate with investigators.
In the same interview, Miller said he believed  the Officer William Porter trial, and the trials of the other officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray, should never have been held in Baltimore City. 
Miller also believes lawmakers will override a number of bills vetoed by Governor Larry Hogan, including the bill designed to ensure that third-party travel websites pay all of the state's sales tax.
Miller said that he maintains a good relationship with Hogan.
"If he's right, he's right and if he's wrong we're going to tell him so," Miller said.
"He wants to get re-elected, but he wants to do right by the state we'll work with him."
Miller said Democrats will fight any tax cut Hogan wants if it comes at the expense of cuts to higher education.
During last year's legislative session, Democrats criticized Hogan over $68-million in funding for large school districts that lawmakers approved, but Hogan chose not to spend.
Lawmakers passed a bill, that Hogan allowed to become law to allow that extra funding  for large school districts to become a permanent part of the budget.
Miller said he and Speaker Michael Busch will consider legislation to expand voting rights so that people are automatically registered to vote once they turn 18.
Miller, who is a history enthusiast, said he opposes efforts to remove the statue of Maryland  native and  Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, who authored the 1857 Dred Scott decision. That decision determined  that racially segregated institutions were constitutional.  That  decision was overturned in 1954 by the Brown versus Board of Education.
The 90-day 2016 Maryland General Assembly session starts on January 13.

Source WBAL

Friday, December 25, 2015

Molotov Cocktail Tossed Into Woman's Baltimore Home


Baltimore police say a Molotov cocktail was tossed into a woman's home in West Baltimore, but it did not explode. 

Investigators say a 63-year-old woman woke up to the sound of her windows breaking and the smell of gasoline at about 5 a.m. on Thursday.
Police said the homemade firebomb, made out of a beer bottle, was tossed into the woman's first-floor bedroom window but didn't ignite. 

No injuries were reported, and there are no suspects. The department's arson unit is investigating the incident.

Source WBAL

Pope Encourages UN-Backed Peace Process For Syria, Libya


Pope Francis issued a Christmas Day prayer that recent U.N.-backed peace agreements for Syria and Libya will quickly end the suffering of their people, denouncing the "monstrous evil" and atrocities they have endured and praising the countries that have taken in their refugees. 

Speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, Francis issued a plenary indulgence for Catholics in hopes of spreading the church's message of mercy in a world torn by war, poverty and extremist attacks. The sun-soaked St. Peter's Square was under heavy security, as it has been since the Nov. 13 Paris attacks by Islamic extremists that left 130 dead. 

An indulgence is an ancient church tradition related to the forgiveness of sins. Francis announced it after delivering his annual "Urbi et Orbi (To the city and the world)" speech listing global hotspots and his prayers for an end to human suffering. 

Francis referred to the "brutal acts of terrorism" that struck the French capital this year as well as attacks in Egypt's airspace, in Beirut, Mali and Tunisia. He denounced the ongoing conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine and issued consolation to Christians being persecuted for their faith in many parts of the planet. 

"They are our martyrs of today," he said. 

In an indirect reference to the Islamic State group, he said: "May the attention of the international community be unanimously directed to ending the atrocities which in those countries, as well as in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa, even now reap numerous victims, cause immense suffering and do not even spare the historical and cultural patrimony of entire peoples." 

Francis said he hoped the plenary indulgence he issued for this, his Holy Year of Mercy, would encourage the faithful "to welcome God's mercy in our lives, and be merciful with our brothers to make peace grow." 

"Only God's mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst," he said. 

Libya has been in a state of lawlessness since dictator Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown in 2011. Syria has seen a five-year war that has killed over 250,000 people and forced millions to flee the country. The surge of refugees flowing out of Syria to Europe has created a migration crisis for the entire continent. 

"We pray to the Lord that the agreement reached in the United Nations may succeed in halting as quickly as possible the clash of arms in Syria and in remedying the extremely grave humanitarian situation of its suffering people," he said. "It is likewise urgent that the agreement on Libya be supported by all, so as to overcome the grave divisions and violence afflicting the country." 

Francis praised both individuals and countries that have taken in refugees fleeing "inhuman conditions," saying their generosity had helped the newcomers "build a dignified future for themselves and for their dear ones, and to be integrated in the societies which receive them." 

Source WBAL

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Retrial Scheduled For June In Porter Case



Prosecutors will retry the case against Officer William Porter.
The new trial is set to start June 13, after the trials for the other five officers charged in Freddie Gray's death, a court spokeswoman said. Porter's first trial ended last week in a mistrial.
The date was set in a scheduling conference held Monday in circuit court Judge Barry Williams' chambers. It will be formally approved at an administrative court hearing Tuesday at Courthouse East. Porter has waived his right to appear.
The date for Officer Caesar Goodson's trial is still set for Jan. 6. Goodson faces the most serious charges in Gray's death.
Porter faces four charges in Gray's death--involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment--but a city jury could not reach agreement on any of those counts. Since Porter still faces those charges, however, prosecutors will likely be unable to call him as a witness in Goodson's trial.

Source WBAL

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Chiefs Cruise Past Ravens 34-14


The Kansas City Chiefs capitalized on a variety of miscues by the Baltimore Ravens and extended their winning streak to eight games with a 34-14 victory Sunday.
Tyvon Branch returned a fumble 73 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and Marcus Peters clinched the victory with a 90-yard interception return for a score with 4:36 left.
Kansas City (9-5) also scored touchdowns following a drive-extending penalty by Baltimore and a failed fake punt.
With the victory, the Chiefs became the first team in NFL history to follow a five-game skid with eight successive wins in the same season. Kansas City also kept itself in the thick of the AFC playoff picture.
Baltimore (4-10) lost its third straight and fell to 2-5 at home. It's the first time in their 20-year history that the Ravens have lost five home games.

Source WBAL

2 Men Fatally Stabbed In Downtown Baltimore


Police say two men were fatally stabbed in downtown Baltimore.
Police say the stabbing occurred shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday in the 300 block of North Calvert Street. City Hall, the offices of The Baltimore Sun and Mercy Medical Center are near that location.
Police say one of the victims walked to a hospital, and the second victim arrived a few minutes later. Both died from their injuries. They were 28 and 19 years old.
Police have not released any information about suspects or a possible motive.
With well over 300 slayings in the city in 2015, Baltimore is on pace for a near-record number of homicides. Police are also investigating several other non-fatal shootings that occurred this weekend.

Source WBAL

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mistrial Declared In Officer William Porter Case!


A mistrial was declared Wednesday on all charges in the trial of Officer William Porter.
The jury could not come to an agreement on any of the four charges facing Porter, the first of six Baltimore officers to face charges in the death of Freddie Gray. Porter was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
Both sides will meet tomorrow to determine how the prosecution will proceed. If called in the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson, who drove the police van in which Gray suffered his fatal injury, and still facing charges, Porter could invoke his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.
Gray's death and the protests and civil unrest that followed drew national attention on issues of police misconduct, particularly in the context of other police-involved deaths of late in Cleveland, Chicago, North Charleston and New York.
The outcome was met with outrage by the roughly two dozen protesters outside Courthouse East. Sheriff's deputies ordered the sidewalk in front of the courthouse cleared and formed a human shield blocking Calvert Street around the courthouse. At least one protester near the courthouse has been arrested. Our partners at WBAL-TV 11 report the protester arrested was activist Kwame Rose.
A police helicopter is monitoring the relatively chaotic scene from above. Deputies appear to believe protesters are trying to force their way into the courthouse.
Marchers can be heard chanting "no justice, no peace."
Tessa Hill-Aston, president of Baltimore's NAACP chapter, told WBAL-TV 11 she was disappointed in the outcome. She said she believed the jury would at least convict on misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby was in the packed courtroom when the mistrial was declared by Judge Barry Williams. The jury first indicated Tuesday they were deadlocked, but Williams told them to continue deliberations.

Source WBAL

Day 3 Of Jury Deliberations At Porter Trial


It is day three of jury deliberations in the trial of Officer William Porter.  
When the jury of seven women and five men come back here to Courthouse East this morning,  they will have deliberated 11 hours since Monday afternoon. 
The jury came back with a note around 3:30 Tuesday afternoon to say they were deadlocked. 
Judge Barry Williams  told the panel to head back to the jury room and keep deliberating. 
While prosecutor Michael Schatzow was in the courtroom for much of the day waiting for the verdict, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby didn’t arrive at the courthouse until after the jury was sent home for the night.
Regardless of the outcome of his trial, Officer William Porter is viewed as a material witness in the trials of Officer Caesar Goodson and Sgt. Alicia White. Goodson's trial is scheduled for January 6. White's trial is set for January 25.
Porter is charged with involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment.
He is one of six officers charged in the April 19 death of Freddie Gray, who died one week after suffering a broken neck and other injuries in a police van following his arrest in West Baltimore.
His death sparked protests, riots, looting and a week long state of emergency in Baltimore City. A handful of protesters were outside the courthouse through the day on Tuesday.  A sightly larger group demonstrated last night.
Security is tight around the courthouse.
Police officers from departments outside the city have staged at Druid Hill Park, and will respond in the event of any unrest after the verdict is announced.
Officials fear a repeat of the April riots if the jury acquits Porter or a mistrial is declared.  
Jury deliberations are scheduled to resume at 8:30 this morning.  If there is no verdict this morning, the jury will take a lunch break at 12:30, and resume deliberations at 1:30.
If there is no verdict this afternoon, the jury had been told to deliberate until 5:30 p.m., but they have the option of continuing deliberations later in the evening.

Source WBAL

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jury Deadlocked in Porter Trial, Judge Orders Deliberations To Continue


The jury in the trial of Officer William Porter told Judge Barry Williams Tuesday afternoon they are deadlocked.
The jury came in around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Williams sent them back for more deliberations after re-reading some of the jury instructions. The jury did not say which of the four charges against Porter are at issue. The jury is not hung. If they were, that would be grounds for Williams to declare a mistrial.
Around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday defense attorney Gary Proctor made a request for a mistrial, and to move this trial out of Baltimore City.
Proctor told the judge his motion was based on the letter that Baltimore City schools CEO Gregory Thornton sent home to parents Monday, warning them of possible unrest. In the letter, Thornton said the school won’t tolerate any students leaving class to protest if Officer Porter is acquitted. 
In court, Proctor praised Judge Williams for making sure the jury is not impacted bu outside influences, but he told the judge, "I didn't think their (the jurors') children's homework would be one of them,"
Proctor said barring the mistrial or change of venue, he asked the judge question jurors individually to determine if they have seen the letter or would it influence their decision.  
Judge Williams quickly denied the request for the mistrial change of venue and  additional questioning saying he is satisfied the jury will base their decision only on the evidence presented. 
The jury made three requests for water, highlighters, notepads and an easel. The judge granted those requests.
The jury also asked for the clerk's exhibit list. The judge denied that, noting the list wasn't evidence. The jury also asked for a set of external speakers for the laptop where they can watch video of Porter's interview with detectives, and audio of police radio transmissions from the day of Gray's arrest.  That request was granted. 
Judge Barry Williams has told this jury there is no time limit on their deliberations, they can deliberate past the 5:30 p.m. closing time of the courthouse, and they should take all the time they need to reach a unanimous verdict. 
The jury indicated it would recess at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, and was sent home soon after that.
After the jury was sent home for the night Tuesday, Baltimore City State;s Attorney Marilyn Mosby was seen entering Courthouse East.
Mosby has watched the trial sitting behind Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow and Deputy State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe, who are prosecuting this case.
She had not been seen in the courthouse since Monday's closing arguments.
Regardless of the outcome of this trial, Porter is viewed by prosecutors as a "material witness" in the trials of Officer Caesar Goodson and Sgt. Alicia White.  Goodson goes on trial January 6. White goes on trial January 25.
This  jury has deliberated for 11 hours since receiving the case on Monday afternoon.
At the start of jury selection two weeks ago, Judge Williams told potential jurors fearful of having to give up their Christmas holiday travel plans that he would expect the case to be completed by this Thursday. 
The jury is provided with all of the evidence, a laptop to play the video of Officer Porter’s interview with police detectives and even a  white board. 
In fact jurors asked the board not be erased when they were sent home last night and the judge agreed. 
Jurors must give up their phones and electronic devices while deliberating, but they can take breaks to make calls.
Security is tight outside the courthouse where protesters gathered Monday, and more expected today.
Baltimore City Police has cancelled all leave for officers and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has called for peaceful protests if the jury acquits Porter on all or some of the charges.
Gray's death in April sparked a week of protests, riots, looting ans a state of emergency in Baltimore City.

Source WBAL

Monday, December 14, 2015

Wilson Throws 5 TD Passes As Seahawks Beat Ravens 35-6


As long as Russell Wilson continues to fling touchdown passes at a dizzying rate, the Seattle Seahawks just might survive their alarming shortage of running backs.
Wilson threw five touchdown passes, three to Doug Baldwin, and Seattle wore down the injury-depleted Baltimore Ravens 35-6 Sunday for its fourth straight victory.
Wilson went 23 for 32 for 292 yards. The five touchdown throws matched a career high - set earlier this season against Pittsburgh - and gave him 16 over his last four games.
Baldwin scored on passes of 14, 22 and 16 yards. Tyler Lockett caught TD throws of 8 and 49 yards.
"Guys were making plays all over the field," Wilson said. "And the offensive line is giving me enough time to make those decisions and get the ball out on time."
Seattle (8-5) played most of the game without standout rookie running back Thomas Rawls, who broke his left ankle in the first quarter and is out for the season. Rawls had already gained 47 yards during the Seahawks' first drive when he was hurt on a 3-yard loss.
"It doesn't get any tougher than that," Wilson said. "We're going to miss him, but I thought everybody collectively played a great game."

Source WBAL

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Baltimore ties record high temperature set in 1979


The National Weather Service says Baltimore has tied a record high temperature for the day set in 1979.
The National Weather Service's Baltimore Washington office said on Twitter that as of 3 p.m. on Saturday, Baltimore hat hit 71 degrees.
The weather service says that tied a record set 36 years ago.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Defense Rests in Porter Trial; Journalists Ejected For Trying To Record Video In Court


The defense has rested its case in the trial of Officer William Porter.
The defense presented 12 witnesses over three days before resting its case just before 12:30 this afternoon.
Judge Barry Williams dismissed the jury of seven women and five men for the weekend.
After a one hour hearing with attorneys to discuss jury instructions recessed court until Monday at 9 a.m., when the jury will receive instructions and hear closing arguments.
If there are no further legal issues, the jury could begin deliberating as soon as Monday afternoon.
Today, the defense called four character witnesses including Porter’s Mother Helena, who called her someone "who likes to keep the peace and is a peacemaker."
The only non-character witness who testified was Baltimore police Capt. Justin Reynolds,  who testified as an expert on city police training procedures. Reynolds said Officer Porter’s actions towards Freddie Gray went beyond what was expected for a backup officer. 
The defense did not call Dontae Allen to the stand, the drug suspect loaded into the same van with Freddie Gray, at a stop on North Avenue. That was the fifth stop the police transport van made on April 12, before taking Gray to Western District police station.
Allen had initially told police that Gray banged his own head against the wall of the van, but he later denied telling the police that, in an interview with WBAL-TV's Jayne Miller in April. The defense requested Allen be brought to Baltimore from a Pennsylvania jail, where he is awaiting trial on theft and forgery charges. Sources say Allen was brought to Baltimore, but Allen never took the stand.
In testimony today, Baltimore City Police Captain Justin Reynolds, on medical leave from the department, spoke broadly about police procedures. He said that at the time of Freddie Gray's fateful arrest, the department had 1700 pages of general orders. New orders would be read at roll call over a five day period. The seat belt order, however, was also posted on precinct bulletin boards.
Furthermore, he said, as have other witnesses, that the primary responsibility for prisoner safety rests with the driver (in this case, Officer Caesar Goodson, charged with second-degree murder in Gray's death). He said there is a "reasonable expectation" that an officer would act on what another officer tells them.
That's relevant because Porter himself testified this week he would have needed to get to a precinct computer to access his work email and see the order emailed to all officers three days before Gray's arrest. He told an internal affairs detective who testified for the prosecution that he told Goodson at one point that Gray needed medical attention.
Porter  is one of six officers accused in the April death of  Gray, who died one week after suffering a broken neck in a police transport van after his arrest in West Baltimore.
Gray's death led to a week of protests, rioting, looting and a state of emergency in Baltimore City. Porter is charged with involuntary manslaughter,second degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.
The defense did not introduce into evidence a statement Freddie Gray gave to police detectives in March in which he said he had a back injury.  On Monday, defense attorneys told Judge Barry Williams they only learned about the statement last weekend, and accused the prosecution of withholding it. On Monday night, the defense asked Williams to declare a mistrial. He refused, but allowed the defense to use the statement and said prosecutors violated discovery rules which requires attorneys to present their evidence and witness lists to opposing counsel.
Last week, at the start of jury selection, Judge Williams told potential jurors the case would be completed by this Thursday.
Two television news producers were removed from the courtroom after they reportedly tried to record video of Officer Porter in the courthouse.
WBAL NewsRadio 1090 has learned one of the journalists worked for ABC News, the other for NBC News.  
Everyone except for lawyers are banned from using any kind of electronic devices inside the courtroom, or in the hallway outside.  
A visibly angry  Judge Barry Williams addressed the issue at the start of Friday's hearing on jury instructions.
The judge said one of the journalists tried to erase the video she took.
Williams said "sanctions will be imposed."
The judge that he respected the rights of reporters to be in the courtroom to represent the public, but he says the rules must be followed to insure a fair trial.
"There are some people who seem to think they are more important than the process," the judge said.
"Those who cannot will face sanctions."
Reporters or spectators whose phones have sounded in the courtroom had been banned from the courtroom for the day, though Thursday, after numerous incidents during the trial, a NBC producer was ejected from the courthouse when her phone went off during the proceedings.
NBC says it  will replace one of its staff members covering the Freddie Gray trial and ABC News is apologizing to the court.

Court spokeswoman Terri Charles says courthouse surveillance cameras showed them apparently using their cellphones to photograph the defendant. 

Circuit Judge Barry Williams says he'll decide later whether to hold either journalist in contempt or order sanctions for violating a prohibition on photography inside the courthouse. 

ABC News spokesman Van Scott said the ABC employee is a digital journalist who "used her cellphone to film near the courthouse's main entrance. At the time, she did not understand that this area was prohibited by the judge's rules." Scott says, "We've reminded our staff of appropriate protocol to follow. We apologize to the court for the misstep." 

NBC spokeswoman Ali Zelenko says the network will send another journalist to replace the one banned from the trial. She declined to comment otherwise.

Source WBAL

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Officer Porter Claims He Was Unaware Of New Seat Belt Policy, Gray Never Asked For Ambulance


Officer William Porter has participated in more than 150 arrests in his time as a Baltimore police officer. Not one was seat belted in a police transport.
That admission came in testimony from Porter himself, who took the stand in his own defense Wednesday as the second witness his attorneys called to the stand.
Porter is one of six Baltimore City Police officers charged in the April death of Freddie Gray, who died April 19, one week after suffering injuries in a police transport van following his arrest.  Gray's death sparked a week of protests, riots, looting and a state of emergency in Baltimore City.
While a new mandatory seat belt policy was emailed to officers three days before Gray's fateful arrest, according to testimony from former police Commissioner Anthony Batts' chief of staff, Porter said he didn't have an app on his department-issued phone to allow him to check his email and would have had to come in early or stay late to read it. The policy was included in what was an 80 page email.
He said her spoke to Brandon Ross, who caught Gray's arrest on video, at the scene and told him to go to the media with it.
Later, Porter was asked why he was not more forceful and insistent at an earlier stop about Gray's need for medical attention in his exchange with Officer Caesar Goodson, who was driving the police van and faces the most serious charges in Gray's death.
"I could not order Goodson to do that," Porter said.
He said that at the van's fourth and fifth stops, he did not see anything wrong with Gray. At the sixth stop at Western District precinct, Gray was unresponsive. That's when medical attention was called.
In testimony, Porter admitted to not belting Gray in. The space in the van is cramped such that belting Gray in would briefly expose his firearm, Porter said, despite their cordial earlier relationship.
However, Porter later said things that conflicted with what Det. Syreeta Teel of internal affairs relayed in prosecution testimony about her interview with Porter. In cross examination, he said Porter never asked for an ambulance or to go to a hospital. He also said that at a stop where he helped Gray up, Gray was never heard to say he couldn't breathe, and that he could not identify the officers who arrested Gray. Those statements all conflict with a video interview Teel conducted with Porter that was shown in court.
When Porter spoke of a "no snitching" code in Gilmor Homes, prosecutor Michael Schatzow created the most heated exchange of Porter's time on the stand when he asked if there was such a code in Baltimore police.
"Absolutely no," Porter said. "I'm offended you asked that."
The first defense witness was Dr. Vincent Di Maio, the former chief medical examiner in Dallas and San Antonio. Di Maio was previously used as an expert witness in the murder trials of Phil Spector, Scott Peterson and Drew Peterson. He said the autopsy on Gray's body was thorough, but disagreed with the finding of homicide as Gray's cause of death. He believed the fatal spinal injury happened later in Gray's trip in a police van than the medical examiner who performed the autopsy believed.
"Freddie Gray's death was an accident," Di Maio said. "There was no intent to cause harm... Accidents happen."
After Porter, Officer Zachary Novak testified. Novak was one of the officers at Western District who tried to remove Gray from the police van along with Sgt. Alicia White, who was charged in Gray's death. Novak was not.
Novak said of the arrests he's been involved in, 90 percent of had detainees who were not belted, though he always seat belts those he puts in transports he's driving in a patrol car. Echoing Porter, he said the primary responsibility for the detainee's safety rest with the person transporting them (in Gray's case, Goodson). Elaborating on Porter's explanation, he said there were only four computers at the precinct that would allow officers to check work email.
Source WBAL

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