A Baltimore judge has scheduled the retrial of Officer William Porter, who faces who faces manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct charges in the death of Freddie Gray, for June. According to the Associated Press, five other officers are due to go on trial before then.
With charges still hanging over his head after a mistrial last week, legal experts say, Porter would be expected to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if called as a witness against Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who will be tried next month.
Experts say that if prosecutors want Porter to testify or want even to introduce his statements to police investigators, they likely will have to grant him immunity.
“If they want to use those [statements], they have to find a legal way to force Officer Porter to take the stand or negotiate with him so he is willing to voluntarily waive his privilege against self-incrimination,” said Adam Ruther, a defense attorney and former prosecutor.
“If instead of having to now say, ‘We don’t believe our case against Porter is strong enough, or we need to use Porter to get a conviction against other people,’ they’re moving him down the line, to the second-best case. They likely think, ‘Hopefully we’ll get a better result, and that will send a message to Mr. Porter that the deadlock was just those 12 people.’”
Goodson, who, according to the Sun, was driving the van in which Gray, allegedly the victim of police “rough ride,” sustained a severe neck injury, faces the most serious charges, including second-degree murder. Gray died a week later.