Baltimore Police Officer William Porter, 26 years old, a three-year veteran of the force, goes on trial this morning in The Clarence Mitchell Courthouse on Calvert Street in Baltimore. His is the first of six trials of officers charged in the death in police custody of Freddie Gray last April. Mr. Gray died of a severed spine one week after his arrest in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood on April 12. Following his funeral, peaceful protests gave way to rioting and looting across Baltimore City.
Officer Porter is charged with involuntary manslaughter and second degree assault, as well as misconduct in office. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges. The other five officers have been charged separately; all have pleaded not guilty. Their trials will be held in succession.
Joining me this morning to talk about what we might expect in the trial of Officer Porter -- a trial that is being closely watched in Baltimore and well beyond -- are two experienced lawyers. Edward Smith is an attorney in private practice here in Baltimore. He has served in the office of the State’s Attorney, and he has argued cases in front of the Supreme Court of the United States. David Jaros is an associate professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, whose scholarly focus is on Criminal Law.