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Culture Beat / Mar. 9, 2016

Is Maryland Making Officer Porter Commit Perjury?

The City of Baltimore has egg on its face.

The City of Baltimore has egg on its face ever since the trial for Officer William Porter resulted in a hung jury in mid-December. Now, in an apparent effort to save face, the Maryland judicial system ruled that Porter must testify against the five other Baltimore police officers that will face a judge over their actions that day in April 2015 when Freddie Gray’s spinal cord was severed in the back of a police van. So Porter will take the witness stand five times, give his account of that day five times, and face questioning five times, before he’s retried.

“Porter’s attorneys argued he shouldn’t be forced to take the stand at the other trials because he could potentially open himself up to perjury,” ABC News reported. “The Maryland Court of Appeals judges seemed skeptical during oral arguments last week, saying Porter shouldn’t have anything to worry about as long as he tells the truth.”

Why couldn’t the transcript of the past trial be submitted as evidence in the upcoming cases? This ruling indicates that Baltimore is looking for a conviction — not justice — at any price in order to appease the mobs that rioted after the news of Gray’s death. The city prematurely admitted its guilt by settling with Gray’s family for an astounding $6.4 million before any of the trials, and it’s trying to work its way out of a jam by disregarding legal procedure for a man whose job was the bottom rung of that legal system.

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