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“Monkey See Monkey Do” Defense In Porter Trial: Cop’s Rationalization For Not Helping Freddie Gray Is Weak At Best, And Should Result In Conviction

 

Now that the state and defense have both rested their cases in the criminal trial of William Porter, one of six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, we can start to grasp a closer look at what actually happen the day Gray was arrested in West Baltimore and subsequently encountered a severe spinal injury that he would later succumb to a week later. Porter is the first to go on trial and is believed to be a material witness against other officers whose trial dates will occur next year. The most severe charge he faces is manslaughter. While the prosecutors believe that Porter and the other officer’s neglect in the care of Gray reached heights of criminal proportions, Porter’s defense counsel at least, have attempted to convince the jury that Gray’s death was the result of an accident.

In fact, much of the defense’ case seem to suggest that Porter wasn’t criminally responsible for aiding in the cause of Gray’s injuries because the Baltimore City Police Department had an on going cultural practice of not following agency policy and procedure. Defense counsel for the accused former cop put a number of witnesses on the stand to combat the state’ argument that Porter willfully neglected to properly restrain Gray in a paddy wagon per departmental policy. The prosecutor’s office presented a strong case by highlighting both, Porter’s knowledge of agency policy requiring all prisoners to be properly restrained in police transport vehicles, and his admitted failure to follow these established procedures. The state hammered Porter by presenting his police academy instructor as a witness, who testified that Porter was trained to restrain all prisoners being transported and to call for emergency medical services if a prisoner request medical care. The state also produced a witness from the city police’ IT Department, who testified that a departmental memorandum regarding prisoner transport, and the seat belt policy which had been emailed to all city police just a few weeks before the Freddie Gray incident, had in fact been emailed to Porter and confirmed to have reached his inbox..

Despite whatever argument that may be utilized to justify failure by Porter to secure Gray in the back of the paddy wagon, the facts are clear. Porter did not do his job and unfortunately a man died. This cannot be disputed one way or the other, but the defense seems to believe that a widespread systemic failure by Baltimore police personnel to follow agency policy is sufficient enough to justify Porter’s individual failure to secure Gray in the back of the wagon as required by police policy. One of the rationalizations for the widespread noncompliance of this particular departmental policy has been rumored to be predicated on perceived concerns related to officer safety. Cops have openly complained about the dangers of the close quarters that exist between officers and prisoners inside the transport vehicle. In the concerns regarding safety, police officials say officers have been spat on, bitten, and sustained other injuries while attempting to secure seat belts on prisoners, and as a result, police personnel regularly violate the established guidelines for prisoner transport out of concerns for their personal safety. Porter’s legal counsel isn’t arguing that he failed to secure Gray out of concerns for his safety though, but rather he only failed to do so as a routine practice similar to what other officers were doing (“Monkey see monkey do.”)

Also, considering the fact that Gray had requested for medical care on multiple occasions and the request was verified by various officers who interacted with him on the day of his arrest, selling the story that Porter was fearful of his safety resulting in his failure to secure Gray in the wagon would have been a hard sell to a seated Baltimore jury, especially with the video capturing Gray’s arrest going viral depicting the appearance of him severely injured. Common sense would almost certainly challenge exactly how much of a threat Gray would have been to the officer in his apparent condition. The battle over why Porter neglected to do his job of placing Gray in a seat belt seems to be a tremendous upheaval for his defense considering the established police policies, and regardless of the culture of not following police rules. The defense’ attempt to deflect responsibility of  securing prisoners in transport vehicles over to that of the actual driver of the vehicle is a stretch, and Porter’s lawyer has to know that he is really reaching on that argument. The state even put a witness on the stand who testified that caring for prisoners in police custody is a shared responsibility of all personnel who come in contact with a prisoner while they are in custody.

The point being here is, once a prisoner is physically restrained and placed in a transport vehicle, their personal safety for the most part is almost entirely out of the scope of their own control. Hence, why police agencies have policies in place requiring the restraint of all prisoners. Its almost like a complete oxymoron for the defense to think that police are not bound by seat belt laws, while “Joe Public” is subject to be ticketed by the very same police agency as demonstrated by Porter’s own testimony. The state will be able to make a hell of a summation on these points during closing arguments.

Moreover, Porter’s defense has run into trouble related to the comments he initially gave to investigators. The state produced a detective who testified that during an unrecorded phone call to Porter regarding what happened to Gray, Porter said to her that Gray told him he couldn’t breathe. The investigator went on to testify that Porter admitted that he wasn’t really sure if Gray was injured because Gray had a history of exaggerating his injuries when being arrested. During Porter’s own testimony on the stand however, he completely dismissed and denied the notion that he had made such a comment to the investigator. Well not entirely. Porter testified that he overheard a person saying that they were having difficulty breathing and needed an inhaler. Porter went on to testify that he later learned that it was Freddie Gray who had made the comment. I mean this isn’t rocket science here. Exactly how many prisoners were around at the time Porter allegedly overheard the “I can’t breathe” comment, and does he (Porter) really believe that his recollection on these events are actually going to be deemed credible? His testimony on this issue is vital to his defense and seemed to have been carefully crafted to establish that he really didn’t know Gray was injured. Its a conflicting account that the state’ witness may easily win because Porter’s recollection appears unbelievable on its face.

The depth of the unreliability of Porter’s testimony is further revealed in comments the officer made to investigators indicating that he (Porter) and the transport vehicle driver Ceasar Goodsen had discussed the unlikelihood of Central Booking personnel taking Gray in his condition, and that he would require to be taken to the hospital. An obvious indicator that Porter reasonably believed that Gray might actually have been injured, and not as he had attempted to convince the jury of not knowing if Gray was in fact in need of medical care. Therefore, Porter’s testimony seems to contradict the available facts related to the Freddie Gray arrest. It just isn’t very credible that Gray never told Porter that he couldn’t breathe as the former cop testified to, when he has already established on record with investigators that he and the transport driver had in fact discussed Gray’s purported injuries.

In the extremely veil elusion of responsibility from the criminal charges that Porter faces, there is minimal extrication available to him, and that’s only if he received an order from a superior specifically directing him not to call for emergency medical assistance for Gray. While Porter told investigators that he advised Sgt. Alicia White that Gray would need to be taken to the hospital, it doesn’t help his cause because Porter established on record that he reasonably believed Gray was injured long before he told Sgt. White, and he failed to get Gray help. Besides, nothing has been introduced in the record of this trial that establishes White or any other supervisor for that matter, having told Porter not to obtain medical help for Gray.

The trial against William Porter seem to hinge on contrasting elements pertaining to Porter’s actual knowledge related to whether Gray was injured or not. Porter’s seemingly shady testimony on these facts may sway the jury to conclude that he’s being untruthful. The history of how police typically have an unbreakable barrier between their rank and file, and usually stick together at all cost, kind of illustrates how Porter’s testimony appear more unreliable with police investigators having said on record that he acknowledged that Gray had requested medical care. Other comments Porter made on the record doesn’t help is case either. Porter stated that when he initially spoke with investigators about Gray, that he thought that he was considered a witness, and didn’t realize that he had to defend himself. That comment is extremely incautious because it almost implies that had he known he was being considered a suspect in Gray’s death, he probably wouldn’t have made certain statements. That may potentially be the test that jurors use to determine his integrity related to his actions while interacting with Freddie Gray that day. Some see telling the truth as a natural process and requires very little complexity, but to infer that a person should have been made aware of being a suspect tends to suggest potential concealment of the facts.

In totality regarding everything that police officials, their supporters, and other pundits from the public who are critical of Gray’s lifestyle have said about him in this case, none of the conjecture or rationalizations pertaining to Gray’s history of allegedly faking injuries, past crimes and arrest matters regarding what ultimately happened to him. He was actually injured during this incident which resulted in his death. Porter and every officer who came in contact with him while he was in police custody, had a duty to insure his personal safety, and despite how they may have felt about Gray as an individual it doesn’t circumvent the responsibility that was entrusted in Porter as a police official. Police officials seem to default to the old discredit him tactic, in an attempt to make Gray appear less deserving of any consideration because he was a petty criminal who sold drugs. While that may have in fact been the case in this instance, his arrest was for the purpose of mitigating such conduct in a court of law before a jury of his peers. Failing to get help for a prisoner who is physically restrained inside a police transport vehicle after he made multiple request for medical care, perhaps can only be described as cruel and heartless negligence that should result in a conviction based on the evidence presented to the court during this trial.

A “Monkey see monkey do” defense is really not a defense at all, and it may be a telling factor in a jury’s determination to come back with a guilty verdict for manslaughter in this case.

 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m Crime Blogger David Adams

 

 

 

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. Recognized journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.
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David Adams

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. Recognized journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

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Now that the state and defense have both rested their cases in the criminal trial of William Porter, one of six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, we can start to grasp a closer look at what actually happen the day Gray was arrested in West Baltimore and subsequently encountered a severe spinal injury that he would later succumb to a week later. Porter is the first to go on trial and is believed to be a material witness against other officers whose trial dates will occur next year. The most severe charge he faces is manslaughter. While the prosecutors believe that Porter and the other officer’s neglect in the care of Gray reached heights of criminal proportions, Porter’s defense counsel at least, have attempted to convince the jury that Gray’s death was the result of an accident.

In fact, much of the defense’ case seem to suggest that Porter wasn’t criminally responsible for aiding in the cause of Gray’s injuries because the Baltimore City Police Department had an on going cultural practice of not following agency policy and procedure. Defense counsel for the accused former cop put a number of witnesses on the stand to combat the state’ argument that Porter willfully neglected to properly restrain Gray in a paddy wagon per departmental policy. The prosecutor’s office presented a strong case by highlighting both, Porter’s knowledge of agency policy requiring all prisoners to be properly restrained in police transport vehicles, and his admitted failure to follow these established procedures. The state hammered Porter by presenting his police academy instructor as a witness, who testified that Porter was trained to restrain all prisoners being transported and to call for emergency medical services if a prisoner request medical care. The state also produced a witness from the city police’ IT Department, who testified that a departmental memorandum regarding prisoner transport, and the seat belt policy which had been emailed to all city police just a few weeks before the Freddie Gray incident, had in fact been emailed to Porter and confirmed to have reached his inbox..

Despite whatever argument that may be utilized to justify failure by Porter to secure Gray in the back of the paddy wagon, the facts are clear. Porter did not do his job and unfortunately a man died. This cannot be disputed one way or the other, but the defense seems to believe that a widespread systemic failure by Baltimore police personnel to follow agency policy is sufficient enough to justify Porter’s individual failure to secure Gray in the back of the wagon as required by police policy. One of the rationalizations for the widespread noncompliance of this particular departmental policy has been rumored to be predicated on perceived concerns related to officer safety. Cops have openly complained about the dangers of the close quarters that exist between officers and prisoners inside the transport vehicle. In the concerns regarding safety, police officials say officers have been spat on, bitten, and sustained other injuries while attempting to secure seat belts on prisoners, and as a result, police personnel regularly violate the established guidelines for prisoner transport out of concerns for their personal safety. Porter’s legal counsel isn’t arguing that he failed to secure Gray out of concerns for his safety though, but rather he only failed to do so as a routine practice similar to what other officers were doing (“Monkey see monkey do.”)

Also, considering the fact that Gray had requested for medical care on multiple occasions and the request was verified by various officers who interacted with him on the day of his arrest, selling the story that Porter was fearful of his safety resulting in his failure to secure Gray in the wagon would have been a hard sell to a seated Baltimore jury, especially with the video capturing Gray’s arrest going viral depicting the appearance of him severely injured. Common sense would almost certainly challenge exactly how much of a threat Gray would have been to the officer in his apparent condition. The battle over why Porter neglected to do his job of placing Gray in a seat belt seems to be a tremendous upheaval for his defense considering the established police policies, and regardless of the culture of not following police rules. The defense’ attempt to deflect responsibility of  securing prisoners in transport vehicles over to that of the actual driver of the vehicle is a stretch, and Porter’s lawyer has to know that he is really reaching on that argument. The state even put a witness on the stand who testified that caring for prisoners in police custody is a shared responsibility of all personnel who come in contact with a prisoner while they are in custody.

The point being here is, once a prisoner is physically restrained and placed in a transport vehicle, their personal safety for the most part is almost entirely out of the scope of their own control. Hence, why police agencies have policies in place requiring the restraint of all prisoners. Its almost like a complete oxymoron for the defense to think that police are not bound by seat belt laws, while “Joe Public” is subject to be ticketed by the very same police agency as demonstrated by Porter’s own testimony. The state will be able to make a hell of a summation on these points during closing arguments.

Moreover, Porter’s defense has run into trouble related to the comments he initially gave to investigators. The state produced a detective who testified that during an unrecorded phone call to Porter regarding what happened to Gray, Porter said to her that Gray told him he couldn’t breathe. The investigator went on to testify that Porter admitted that he wasn’t really sure if Gray was injured because Gray had a history of exaggerating his injuries when being arrested. During Porter’s own testimony on the stand however, he completely dismissed and denied the notion that he had made such a comment to the investigator. Well not entirely. Porter testified that he overheard a person saying that they were having difficulty breathing and needed an inhaler. Porter went on to testify that he later learned that it was Freddie Gray who had made the comment. I mean this isn’t rocket science here. Exactly how many prisoners were around at the time Porter allegedly overheard the “I can’t breathe” comment, and does he (Porter) really believe that his recollection on these events are actually going to be deemed credible? His testimony on this issue is vital to his defense and seemed to have been carefully crafted to establish that he really didn’t know Gray was injured. Its a conflicting account that the state’ witness may easily win because Porter’s recollection appears unbelievable on its face.

The depth of the unreliability of Porter’s testimony is further revealed in comments the officer made to investigators indicating that he (Porter) and the transport vehicle driver Ceasar Goodsen had discussed the unlikelihood of Central Booking personnel taking Gray in his condition, and that he would require to be taken to the hospital. An obvious indicator that Porter reasonably believed that Gray might actually have been injured, and not as he had attempted to convince the jury of not knowing if Gray was in fact in need of medical care. Therefore, Porter’s testimony seems to contradict the available facts related to the Freddie Gray arrest. It just isn’t very credible that Gray never told Porter that he couldn’t breathe as the former cop testified to, when he has already established on record with investigators that he and the transport driver had in fact discussed Gray’s purported injuries.

In the extremely veil elusion of responsibility from the criminal charges that Porter faces, there is minimal extrication available to him, and that’s only if he received an order from a superior specifically directing him not to call for emergency medical assistance for Gray. While Porter told investigators that he advised Sgt. Alicia White that Gray would need to be taken to the hospital, it doesn’t help his cause because Porter established on record that he reasonably believed Gray was injured long before he told Sgt. White, and he failed to get Gray help. Besides, nothing has been introduced in the record of this trial that establishes White or any other supervisor for that matter, having told Porter not to obtain medical help for Gray.

The trial against William Porter seem to hinge on contrasting elements pertaining to Porter’s actual knowledge related to whether Gray was injured or not. Porter’s seemingly shady testimony on these facts may sway the jury to conclude that he’s being untruthful. The history of how police typically have an unbreakable barrier between their rank and file, and usually stick together at all cost, kind of illustrates how Porter’s testimony appear more unreliable with police investigators having said on record that he acknowledged that Gray had requested medical care. Other comments Porter made on the record doesn’t help is case either. Porter stated that when he initially spoke with investigators about Gray, that he thought that he was considered a witness, and didn’t realize that he had to defend himself. That comment is extremely incautious because it almost implies that had he known he was being considered a suspect in Gray’s death, he probably wouldn’t have made certain statements. That may potentially be the test that jurors use to determine his integrity related to his actions while interacting with Freddie Gray that day. Some see telling the truth as a natural process and requires very little complexity, but to infer that a person should have been made aware of being a suspect tends to suggest potential concealment of the facts.

In totality regarding everything that police officials, their supporters, and other pundits from the public who are critical of Gray’s lifestyle have said about him in this case, none of the conjecture or rationalizations pertaining to Gray’s history of allegedly faking injuries, past crimes and arrest matters regarding what ultimately happened to him. He was actually injured during this incident which resulted in his death. Porter and every officer who came in contact with him while he was in police custody, had a duty to insure his personal safety, and despite how they may have felt about Gray as an individual it doesn’t circumvent the responsibility that was entrusted in Porter as a police official. Police officials seem to default to the old discredit him tactic, in an attempt to make Gray appear less deserving of any consideration because he was a petty criminal who sold drugs. While that may have in fact been the case in this instance, his arrest was for the purpose of mitigating such conduct in a court of law before a jury of his peers. Failing to get help for a prisoner who is physically restrained inside a police transport vehicle after he made multiple request for medical care, perhaps can only be described as cruel and heartless negligence that should result in a conviction based on the evidence presented to the court during this trial.

A “Monkey see monkey do” defense is really not a defense at all, and it may be a telling factor in a jury’s determination to come back with a guilty verdict for manslaughter in this case.

 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m Crime Blogger David Adams

 

 

 

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. Recognized journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.
email

David Adams

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. Recognized journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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