Prosecution continues in trial of Baltimore officer in man's death

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 08, 2015 6:12 AM

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Prosecutors in the case of a Baltimore police officer charged in the death of a black man return for more testimony on Tuesday after witnesses said the man would not have died had he received immediate medical help.

Officer William Porter, 26, is accused of manslaughter in the April death of Freddie Gray from a neck injury suffered while transported in a police van.

Porter is the first of six officers, three of them black, to face trial in Gray's death, which triggered rioting in the largely black city and fueled a U.S. debate on police brutality.

Prosecutors in Baltimore City Circuit Court contend that Porter ignored Gray's pleas for medical aid and failed to secure him in the back of a police transport van in violation of department protocol.

The defense has said Porter did not believe Gray, 25, was seriously injured until he was found shackled, handcuffed and unconscious at the end of the van ride at a police station. Gray had been arrested when he was found with a knife in his possession after a foot chase.

Dr. Morris Marc Soriano, a neurological surgeon from Rockford, Illinois, and prosecution witness, said on Monday the failure to get Gray medical attention brought on brain death.

Had a medic promptly put a breathing tube down Gray's throat, "he would not have suffered the brain injury that killed him," he said.

Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Carol Allan, who performed Gray's autopsy, testified that she would not have classified Gray's death a homicide had Porter called a medic when Gray asked for one.

Porter faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Charges against the other officers accused in the case range from misconduct to second-degree murder.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Sandra Maler)