On Monday, December 21 a new court date was announced for William Porter, the first of the six police officers to be tried for their involvement in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. Porter’s trial ended last week with a hung jury; it will recommence on June 13, 2016.
According to The Guardian, “Porter’s trial...was scheduled first because the prosecution expected to use Porter as a material witness against other officers, including officer Caesar Goodman, the driver of the van in which Gray sustained his final injury, and Sergeant Alicia White, Porter’s commanding officer that day.”
However, if Porter were to testify in these cases—now scheduled to be held before his—he could risk incriminating himself. So while his testimony has been regarded as “crucial to a conviction of Goodman,” Porter will now need a guarantee of immunity to testify without legal repercussion.
Regarding this complication, University of Maryland law professor Doug Colbert tells The Guardian, “I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Porter becomes a witness for the state...If the prosecution is allowing Porter to be the last tried and they want his testimony, there had to be an offer [of immunity].”
Porter is charged with “manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office.” Protesters assembled at the conclusion of his first trial, their chants of “all night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray” ringing out in front of the Baltimore courthouse.
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