The Latest: Expert: Seat belt would have prevented injuries

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Posted: Jun 13, 2016 2:58 PM
The Latest: Expert: Seat belt would have prevented injuries

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Latest on the trial for a police van driver facing a murder charge stemming from the death of a 25-year-old black man whose neck was broken in police custody (all times local):

2:55 p.m.

A medical expert testified that a 25-year-old black man who died after his neck was broken in the back of a police transport van would not have been injured if he had been belted in for his trip to the police station.

Officer Caesar Goodson is facing second-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges in the April 19, 2015 death of Freddie Gray, who was fatally injured after officers left him handcuffed and shackled but unbelted.

Dr. Morris Marc Soriano, the state's 13th witness, testified that Gray could not have broken his own neck by banging his head inside the wagon, and would have "never suffered the injuries he did if he were seatbelted."

Prosecutors say Goodson intentionally didn't buckle Gray in and gave him a "rough ride" with the purpose of injuring the man. They also say he was negligent when he failed to call a medic. Goodson's attorneys deny the rough ride theory, and say the officer did nothing wrong.

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1:50 p.m.

An officer testifying against a van driver charged in the death of a 25-year-old man in police custody said he told the driver that the man needed to go to a hospital only because he wouldn't be admitted to jail if he requested medical aid there.

Officer William Porter was the state's 12th witness against Officer Caesar Goodson, the wagon driver facing second-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges stemming from the death of Freddie Gray. Porter's trial in the Gray case ended in mistrial. He will be tried again in September.

Gray died April 19, a week after his neck was broken in the back of Goodson's van while he was handcuffed and shackled, but not buckled into a seat belt.

Porter testified that Gray said help only once during the wagon's fourth stop, when Goodson called Porter for backup. Porter said Gray then asked him to help him up onto the wagon's bench. He added that Gray said he wanted to go to the hospital after Porter asked him if he needed aid.

Porter added that he told Goodson that Gray needed to go to the hospital not because he was injured but because he said "the magic words," which was that he wanted a medic.

Prosecutors say Goodson gave Gray a "rough ride" and was negligent when he failed to take Gray to the hospital. Goodson's attorneys say the officer did nothing wrong.

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10:10 a.m.

A police officer awaiting trial has been called to testify against his colleague, a van driver charged with murder in the death of a 25-year-old black man in police custody.

Officer William Porter, whose trial ended in a mistrial in December and is scheduled for retrial in September, is the state's 12th witness against Caesar Goodson, who faces second-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges stemming from the death of Freddie Gray.

Before Porter was called to the stand his attorney, Joseph Murtha, objected to an appeals court decision forcing officers in the Gray case to testify against each other. Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams denied the objection.

Gray died April 19, 2015, a week after his neck was broken in the back of Goodson's police van.

Prosecutors say Goodson gave Gray a "rough ride" and was negligent when he failed to get the man medical attention. Goodson's attorneys say the officer acted reasonably and did nothing wrong.

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4:10 a.m.

Prosecutors are expected to call more witnesses Monday in their murder case against the police van driver in the death of a 25-year-old black man who died after his neck was broken in the back of the van.

Officer Caesar Goodson faces second-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges stemming from the death of Freddie Gray.

His trial began Thursday and the state has called 11 witnesses.

Prosecutors say Goodson gave Gray a "rough ride" in the van, where he was left handcuffed and shackled but unrestrained by a seat belt. They also say Goodson was negligent when he failed to call for medical aid. Goodson's attorneys say the officer drove carefully and followed orders.

Among possible state witnesses is William Porter, whose own trial in the case ended in mistrial in December.