Baltimore, MD – As we reported last week, the jury in the case of Baltimore Police Officer William G. Porter told the judge that they were deadlocked and had been unable to reach a verdict. Porter is one of the officers who were on the scene during the death of Freddie Gray, a young man who was killed in police custody earlier this year. The judge declared a mistrial in the case, and a new trial was scheduled for June 13th, 2016.
News of the mistrial was surprisingly well received by Baltimore residents, who were hoping for justice, but convinced that justice may finally be served in June at the retrial. However, the media failed to report crucial details of the case, namely that the prosecution is seeking to use Porter as a witness against the other officers involved in the killing.
This is important because in order to get him to agree to be a witness, they would have to give him immunity in the case, thus clearing him of the charges against him. The situation becomes even more complicated when considering that other officers involved in the case will be due in court next month.
Danette Chavis, CEO and Founder of National Action Against Police Brutality and Murder, explained the very complicated situation in a recent statement.
“Officer William Porter is a Material Witness for the state. They need his testimony in the upcoming trial of Officer Ceasar R. Goodson. The prosecution will now have to offer him IMMUNITY against prosecution – because they want his testimony in the upcoming case against the next officer to be tried in the murder of Freddie Gray! Officer Caesar R. Goodson will begin his trial NEXT MONTH in the murder of Freddie Gray. And if the prosecution wants to use the testimony of Officer Porter, they will have to find a way to get him to voluntarily testify and waive his 5th amendments rights, which he has a right invoke in order to prevent “self-incrimination” because he himself is facing charges, and his trial will not be held until June 13th of 2016! So is it just “another sham” to prevent officers from prosecution?” Chavis said.
This situation presents an interesting catch 22 in the cases against both Goodson and Porter, because if Porter does not testify then Goodson will have an easier time escaping the charges, and it is possible that Porter may not even be able to make that decision before Goodson goes on trial. This means that there will be less evidence to be used against all of the officers, and will weaken the case against each of them.
The testimony against Goodson is vital, as he faces the most serious charge of second-degree murder since he was the driver of the van that caused Gray to sustain a severe neck injury that later killed him.
John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can purchase his books, or get your own book published at his website www.JohnVibes.com.