Baltimore city became a seething pot of discontent after the death of Freddie Gray. The city erupted into violence, and widespread public action was taken in the forms of peaceful protest, the creation of organizations, and social media hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter.
Although there is still some ambiguity surrounding the events of that night, we know that Gray had been put in a police van without a seat belt. During the 45-minute ride, Gray suffered an fatal injury to his spine that is believed to have been the result of a sudden stop.
Porter was the first officer to be put on trial, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict back in December 2015. Members of Baltimore City protested the outcome, believing that Porter was guilty of the charges that he faced. Although Porter might not’ve been directly culpable for Gray’s death, many believe that he played a part in the events that lead up to it. He is currently waiting for his second trial for charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and assault.
The news quickly spread throughout social media, and is currently trending on Facebook. Many individuals are saying how crucial Porter’s testimony will be in Goodson’s case. They note that Porter can put the blame on Goodson’s shoulders by saying that he declined to take Gray to the hospital even though he was conscious of Gray’s injuries.
However, others on Facebook believe that the ruling was a violation to Porter’s Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Jason Ott, a Baltimore defense lawyer claimed that, “compelling Porter to testify while his own charges remain pending could have an impact on his case, the reason for the Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination.”
Five other officers are awaiting trial and face several, more serious, charges. Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., who drove the van that transported Gray from the scene of his arrest, faces the most serious charge: second-degree depraved-heart murder. Prosecutors believe that Goodson drove the van recklessly despite knowing that Gray was injured and in need of medical aid.