Baltimore cop can be forced to testify against officers in Freddie Gray case

Posted at 12:30 PM, Mar 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-08 12:30:15-05

Baltimore police Officer William Porter can be compelled to testify under immunity against fellow officers charged in connection with Freddie Gray’s death, Maryland’s appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Maryland’s Court of Appeals made the decision in two separate rulings. The first, related to the trials of Sgt. Alicia White and Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., affirmed an appeal by prosecutors. The second — pertaining to Officer Garrett Miller, Officer Edward Nero and Lt. Brian Rice — reversed a lower-court decision that prevented Porter from testifying in those officers’ trials.

The trials of all five of these officers charged in Gray’s death had been on hold until now.

In February, another decision out of Maryland courts immediately halted jury selection in the trial of Nero, who is charged with second-degree intentional assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.

Porter himself has already gone on trial, but it ended in a mistrial in December.

Porter’s legal team had fought to prevent him from going on the stand again in other cases, arguing there’s no way to guarantee that information from his testimony wouldn’t be used against him later.

Even with his mistrial, Porter still faces involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges. The start of his retrial has been scheduled for June 13.

The 25-year-old Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury in April 2015 after being arrested and put in a police van without a seat belt. Large protests and, in some cases, destructive riots broke out after his death, with some claiming the fact Gray was black contributed to his treatment.

The six officers charged in his death face an array of charges. Goodson, who was driving the police van carrying Gray, faces the most serious — second-degree depraved-heart murder, which could mean 30 years behind bars if he’s convicted.