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Baltimore Judge Orders Officer to Testify in Upcoming Freddie Gray Trial

  • VOA News

Baltimore police officers charged in Freddie Gray's death, top row from left, Caesar Goodson Jr., Garrett Miller and Edward Nero, and bottom row from left, William Porter, Brian Rice and Alicia White.

Baltimore police officers charged in Freddie Gray's death, top row from left, Caesar Goodson Jr., Garrett Miller and Edward Nero, and bottom row from left, William Porter, Brian Rice and Alicia White.

A Baltimore judge has ordered a police officer to testify in the upcoming trial of a fellow officer facing the most serious charges in the death of Freddie Gray.

The young African-American man died last year after he was severely injured in the back of a police van.

Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., who drove the van, is facing the most serious charge of six officers charged in the Gray case — second-degree depraved-heart murder, or acting without any regard for human life.

Judge Barry Williams on Wednesday ordered Officer William Porter to testify at the Goodson trial. Porter's trial ended last month in a mistrial when jurors could not reach a verdict.

Porter's attorneys argued that forcing him to testify in the Goodson trial would violate his constitutional right not to incriminate himself before Porter is tried again in June.

But the judge granted Porter a special immunity, meaning that his testimony for or against Goodson cannot be used against him in his second trial.

Legal experts say this is an unprecedented decision in the state of Maryland.

Williams also turned down a defense request to move the Goodson trial out of Baltimore to avoid bad publicity.

Gray emerged from the police van with a severed spinal cord last April and died a week later. His death led to riots in black neighborhoods in Baltimore with protesters marching against police treatment of young African-Americans.

Goodson and Porter are two of the three officers charged in Gray's death who are black. The other three are white.

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