- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

BALTIMORE (AP) - The latest on the trial of a police officer accused in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a spinal injury in the back of a transport van (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

Teacher Tina Forbush thinks a high-profile jury trial is something her high-school students can best appreciate in person.

So on Thursday, she took the 12 students in her criminal-law class at the Park School of Baltimore to the trial of Officer William Porter. He’s charged with manslaughter in the death of Freddie Gray.

Forbush says watching a trial unfold is very different from learning about the justice system in school.

She says “you can’t get this experience armchair-quarterbacking in the classroom.”


3:05 p.m.

Jurors in the manslaughter trial of Baltimore Police Officer William Porter have been shown two cellphone videos of the initial arrest of Freddie Gray and a subsequent stop of the police van in which Gray suffered a spinal injury.

Both videos were shown during testimony by Brandon Ross, a friend of Gray’s who was with him on the morning of his arrest. Ross was the state’s eighth witness, called Thursday, on the second day of testimony.

The first video, about two minutes long and labeled, “Kevin Moore video,” included the widely seen footage of Gray being dragged, screaming, by uniformed officers and lifted into the back of the prisoner transport van. The second video, about four minutes long and shot by Ross, showed officers working on Gray outside the van at a location where prosecutors say wrist and ankle restraints were applied before Gray was placed on the floor of the van instead of being seat-belted in, as department policy requires.

During the second video, a voice can be heard repeatedly shouting, “That ain’t cool, yo!”

Just before the end of the video, a voice yells, “You could hear him screaming.”

After the videos were shown, Gray’s mother Gloria Darden, seated in the gallery, began sobbing loudly and was escorted out by a supporter, followed by other family members.

(The item has been corrected to show that the first video was labeled, “Kevin Moore video,” and was not shot by Ross.


2:15 p.m.

The judge overseeing the trial for one of six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray says jurors have been given a tour of the police transport van where Gray suffered a critical spinal injury that killed him.

The judge said the jurors did not ask any questions and were not given any information during the viewing. Williams also asked whether the defense and the state agreed that the van itself was not considered evidence. Both sides said yes.

Prosecutors say Officer William Porter is partially responsible for Gray’s death because he didn’t buckle the man in a seatbelt in the back of the van and failed to call a medic despite Gray’s repeated requests.


1 p.m.

The jury in the manslaughter trial of a Baltimore police officer charged in Freddie Gray’s death is set to view the prisoner transport van in which he suffered a fatal spinal injury.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams scheduled the viewing for early Thursday afternoon in the courthouse parking deck.

Court spokeswoman Terry Charles says news media won’t be allowed to observe the jury viewing the van because the general public cannot observe it.

Gray was a 25-year-old black man who died from his injuries April 19.

Prosecutors say his neck was broken because he was not restrained by a seatbelt, as required, while handcuffed and shackled in the back of the van.

Defense lawyers suggest Gray was injured from intentionally banging his head against the side of the compartment.


11:30 a.m.

The chief of staff to the commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department is testifying that six updated policies were sent to all agency members just days before the arrest of Freddie Gray.

One of the updates required officers to buckle all detainees in seat belts and to obtain medical care for them “when necessary or requested.”

Prosecutors say Officer William Porter is partially responsible for Gray’s death because he didn’t buckle the man in a seatbelt and failed to call a medic despite Gray’s repeated requests.

Capt. Martin Bartness said the updated orders replaced a previous policy from 1997. That policy provided officers with slightly more leeway, instructing them to buckle detainees in seat belts but to prioritize their own safety. The new order leaves no ambiguity. Bartness read the policy aloud.


10:50 a.m.

A Baltimore police officer who worked as an instructor at the police academy for ten years is testifying that while officers often work together to ensure the safety of a person who has been arrested, it is primarily the responsibility of the wagon driver to protect the person in the back of a transport van.

John Bilheimer testified Thursday at the trial for Officer William Porter, who is charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Gray died after being injured in the back of a police van last April.

Prosecutors say Porter is partially responsible for Gray’s death because he didn’t buckle the man in a seatbelt and failed to call a medic despite Gray’s repeated requests for medical attention.

Bilheimer, the state’s second witness, said the police department does have rules about buckling detainees in and administering medical care. But during cross-examination, Bilheimer acknowledged that it is primarily the driver of the van who is responsible for the safety of a prisoner.

The van driver, Caesar Goodson, faces the most serious charge in the case: second-degree “depraved-heart” murder. His trial will be next year.

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