BALTIMORE — Closing arguments in the trial of William G. Porter are set to begin Monday morning, before the fate of the first Baltimore police officer to be tried in connection with Freddie Gray’s death is left in the hands of the 12 men and women of the jury.
After eight days of testimony surrounding Porter’s actions on the day Gray sustained a catastrophic neck injury in the back of a police van, the city is bracing itself for a verdict.
Authorities are worried the outcome of the trial could trigger more riots and protests like those seen the day of Gray’s April funeral. And the public still awaits an answer to an important question hanging over this city for months: What happened to Freddie Gray?
— CNN (@CNN) December 14, 2015
The 25-year-old was arrested April 12 after he ran from police in his West Baltimore neighborhood. Prosecutors say he suffered a serious spine injury while being transported in the back of a police van with his hands and feet shackled but without a seat belt. Though it is unclear how exactly Gray got hurt, medical experts for both sides likened his injury to those sustained when someone dives headfirst into a shallow pool of water.
Over two weeks, more than two dozen witnesses and about 100 pieces of evidence, two narratives emerged to explain Porter’s actions.
Prosecutors have described Porter as acting with “callous indifference,” alleging the officer ignored Gray’s plea for help when he said he couldn’t breathe in the back of the police wagon. They say Porter ignored police training and policies by failing to place a seat belt on Gray and immediately calling for a medic when Gray requested one.
“He did nothing when he could have saved a man’s life,” prosecutor Michael Schatzow said.
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