Baltimore (CNN)—Prosecutors offered a detailed timeline Wednesday of Freddie Gray’s long ride in a police van, telling a racially diverse jury that Officer William G. Porter Jr. was present five of the six times the van stopped en route to a West Baltimore police station.
Porter, 26, is accused of failing to summon medics when the injured prisoner asked for help. He also allegedly failed to secure the 25-year-old man properly in the back of the van.
“He had a duty to keep safe a person in police custody,” Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow said in his opening statement.
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Schatzow told jurors they would hear police dispatch recordings and view the van, which has benches and five seat belts on each side.
“Evidence will show this defendant criminally neglected his duty to keep Mr. Gray safe,” the prosecutor said.
Michael Schatzow makes the prosecution’s opening statement as chief prosecutor Marilyn Mosby looks on.
Gray’s spinal injury was similar to those suffered after a dive into a shallow pool, the prosecutor said. His neck was broken and compressed — injuries that couldn’t be caused by banging his head against a wall, he said.
Gray was unresponsive by the time the van arrived at the Western District police station. He died at a hospital on April 19, a week after his arrest.
But defense attorney Gary Proctor said that the evidence will show Porter is innocent and that the department had just issued a new policy ordering officers to secure people in the van with seat belts.
“Mr. Gray’s death is a tragedy,” Proctor said, “but so is charging someone who did nothing to precipitate that.”
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