Baltimore Police Officer William Porter Takes the Stand in Colleague's Freddie Gray Trial

Officer Porter testified after his trial deadlocked in January.

ByABC News
June 13, 2016, 3:47 PM
Officer Caesar Goodson arrives at the courthouse,  June 13, 2016, for the third day of his trial in the Freddie Gray case, in Baltimore.
Officer Caesar Goodson arrives at the courthouse, June 13, 2016, for the third day of his trial in the Freddie Gray case, in Baltimore.
Barbara Haddock Taylor/AP Photo

BALTIMORE— -- William Porter, the officer whose own trial ended in a deadlocked jury in January, took the stand today in the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore.

He testified in the case against Officer Caesar Goodson, who is one of the six officers charged in connection to the death of Gray. Goodson is the van driver facing the most serious charge of "depraved heart" murder. All the officers have pleaded not guilty.

Gray, 25, broke his neck while riding unsecured in the back of a police van in April 2015. His death ignited days of protests and riots in Baltimore, helping to fuel the national Black Lives Matter movement.

Porter said in court today that Gray did ask for help at one of the van stops. But he also said that Gray did not show any obvious need of medical attention.

"What, if anything, did you hear Mr. Gray say?" Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow asked Porter.

"He didn’t say anything," Porter responded, adding, "I said, ‘What’s up to him’... he said ‘help.’"

Upon further questioning by the prosecution, Potter said he asked Gray "how" he needed assistance and "what do you need help with?"

Porter said Gray responded, "Help me up."

Asked again, Porter said, "He said help and help me up," challenging the notion that Gray repeatedly called for help while he was arrested and transported in the Baltimore police van.

The prosecution attempted to use Porter’s original testimony given on April 17, 2015, which came a few days after Gray’s death, against him by pointing out he originally had said Gray repeated calls for aid, reading the lines Porter told investigators -- "he just keeps saying help."

Porter also stated that Gray asked him to help him get onto the bench and that he left him "sitting with hands cuffed behind his back and feet on the floor. Sitting on the bench."

The prosecution stipulated that in the transcript Porter never stated Gray assisted in Porter’s helping him onto a bench. On cross examination, however, Porter stressed there was no way he could have moved him himself.

"No sir, no possible way I could lift a 150 pound man in that tiny of a compartment and place him on the bench," Porter said. "He helped me with his legs to push off the ground."

At the forth stop, Porter testified, he found Gray "on the floor of the prisoner compartment" and "on his stomach," which is the reason he was assisted him onto the seat.

The defense also stressed that during that movement, Porter and Gray were very close to one another. Taking into account his officer training, Porter did not witness any need more medical attention at that time.

Porter was pressed on whether Gray had on a seatbelt at the forth stop. When asked, he responded, "I did not seat-belt him."

The prosecution asked whether he had an opportunity to secure Gray with a seat belt, to which Porter, following a long pause and exhale, replied, "I guess so."

Porter admitted during questioning that he had an opportunity to seatbelt Gray and that Gray had asked to go to the hospital.

"I let Officer Goodson know that when prompted he said he wanted to go to the hospital," Porter said.

The defense argued that Gray didn’t request a trip to the hospital, but it was Porter who suggested it. It wasn’t until stop six that Porter stated he wanted to speak to a medic and said, Gray “was banging around in the wagon, now he’s unconscious."

Porter said that he didn't think he needed a medic before the final stop.