Officer Must Testify in Freddie Gray Trials

     BALTIMORE (CN) — One of the officers facing lesser charges for the death of Freddie Gray must testify in upcoming manslaughter trials of his police co-defendants, a judge ruled.
     The ruling Wednesday afternoon came nearly a year to the day of 25-year-old Gray’s death on April 19 from a spinal-cord injury sustained during his arrest by Baltimore police the week before.
     Six of Gray’s arresting officers are slated to go on trial over the next few months, including the retrial of officer William Porter on manslaughter. Porter’s first trial ended in a hung jury.
     Just as an appeals court ordered Porter last month to testify against two co-defendants, officer Garret Miller now faces similar duties.
     At a hearing on Wednesday, Judge Barry Williams granted a motion by prosecutors to compel Miller’s testimony in the upcoming trial of Officer Edward Nero and Lt. Brian Rice.
     Nero and Rice’s trial-start dates are May 10 and July 5, respectively.
     Defense attorneys had argued that forcing Miller to take the stand could violate his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
     Both Miller and Nero have pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct related to Gray’s initial arrest.
     Caesar Goodson, the officer who drove the van where Porter suffered his fatal injury, faces the most serious charge of second-degree, depraved-heart murder. Like Porter, Lt. Rice is charged with manslaughter, as is the sixth officer, Sgt. Alicia White.
     According to testimony in Porter’s trial last year, Miller and Nero were on bike patrol on April 12, 2015, near Gilmor Homes housing project when Gray allegedly started running, unprovoked.
     The officers arrested Gray after allegedly finding an illegal knife on his person. The state’s attorney has refused to produce the knife, which some argue was not illegal.
     Social unrest plagued Baltimore in the wake of Gray’s death, culminating in riots on the night of his funeral.
     The six officers have all pleaded not guilty to charges against them.
     Williams cited the high court’s ruling in the Porter case in granting the state’s motion to compel Miller to the stand.
     Nero’s trial is slated first, on May 10, followed by Goodson, Rice and Miller. White’s trial is last, after Porter’s retrial.

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