Prosecutors detail route of van
By the time the van stopped at the corner of Druid Hill Avenue and Dolphin Street, Officer William Porter opened the doors and heard Freddie Gray say, “Help” and that he couldn’t breathe. At that point, Porter picked Gray up off the floor of the van, but again did not place him in a seat belt.
Police protocols, in place since 1997 and updated just days before Gray’s arrest, require that detainees be seatbelted. An exception is made when the prisoner is combative. But Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow said that Gray wasn’t fighting the officer and posed no such danger.
“When those van doors closed, Mr. Gray was in a lot of trouble,” Schatzow said.
Gray suffered a high impact injury to his neck as the van continued. When the van made a fifth stop, Porter peered into the back and Gray was on his knees, slumped over. Porter described Gray to investigators as “limp,” and responding in the affirmative when asked if he needed to go to the hospital.
Police picked up a second arrestee, Donta Allen, and returned to the Western District police station. Allen was unloaded first, and when police looked in on Gray, he was in the same position as he had been at the fifth stop, Schatzow said.
“Now, Mr. Gray is unconscious. Now, Mr. Gray is not breathing. Now, Mr. Gray’s heart is not beating,” Schatzow said.
Prosecutors: “...when Mr. Gray went into the van, there was nothing wrong with his spine"
Freddie Gray’s arrest went viral after citizen cell phone video showed him wailing as he was being dragged by officers and placed into the van. Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow emphasized that Gray was not seriously injured at that time, saying video shows him lifting his head as he is on the ground handcuffed, and bearing weight as he climbed into the van.
Schatzow said Gray also was banging around the back of the van, so much so that is caused the van to rock back and forth.
“This is evidence of the fact that when Mr. Gray went into the van, there was nothing wrong with his spine,” Schatzow said.
Prosecutiors: Porter is accused not of police brutality, but indifference
Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow told the jurors that Porter ignored several chances to help Gray, being involved at five of six stops the transport van made on its way to Central Booking.
Schatzow said Porter was “on trial for what he did, and more important what he didn’t do.”
The prosecution’s opening statement last about 45 minutes, and came after a jury of 12 people and four alternates were selected. The defense will make its opening statement after 1:45 p.m.
Prosecutors: “There was no reason not to put him in a seatbelt, unless you simply didn’t care"
Prosecutors told jurors at the opening for the first trial in the death of Freddie Gray that Officer William Porter “criminally neglected his duty” to help Gray by failing to seatbelt him or call for help when it was clear Gray was seriously hurt.
Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow told jurors that Porter had been trained to seat belt arrestees inside of the back of police transport vans, but loaded Gray inside without using any of five available seatbelts.
“There was no reason not to put him in a seatbelt, unless you simply didn’t care,” Schatzow said.
Schatzow argued on behalf of the prosecution at the initial motions hearing in the case, when a judge ruled against motions to dismiss the charges and recuse Mosby and others prosecutors from the case. The judge also ruled that the defendants would be tried separately.
Part of a cast of prosecutors under Mosby, Schatzow is a senior official in the department, overseeing other prosecutors and reporting to Mosby.
He is a former assistant U.S. District Court attorney and is retired from Venable LLP, where he was a partner. Schatzow has worked in the legal field for 42 years, including on federal organized crime and espionage cases, according to the State's Attorney's Office.
Schatzow earned law degrees from the University of Chicago and Georgetown University, and his undergraduate degree at Case Western University in Cleveland.
A number of people will play a role in what happens in court, including...
Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr. -- the driver of the police van in which Freddie Gray was injured -- is charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder. Sgt. Alicia D. White, Lt. Brian W. Rice and Officer William G. Porter are charged with manslaughter. Officers Edward M. Nero and Garrett E. Miller face lesser charges, including second-degree assault.
The defense attorneys:
Officer Goodson: Matthew Fraling, Sean Malone, Andrew Graham
Officer Miller: Catherine Flynn
Officer Nero: Marc Zayon
Officer Porter: Joseph Murtha, Gary Proctor
Lt. Rice: Michael Belsky, Chaz Ball
Sgt. Alicia White: Ivan Bates, Tony Garcia
Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow
Deputy State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe
Deputy State's Attorney Antonio Gioia
Assistant State's Attorney Matthew Pillion
Assistant State's Attorney Lisa Goldberg