Jury Selection Begins In Trial Of Second Police Officer Involved In Freddie Gray Death
BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 11: Baltimore Police officer Caesar Goodson arrives at the Mitchell Courthouse-West for jury selection in his trial January 11, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. Goodson is one of six Baltimore police officers charged in relation to the death in custody of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spinal cord injury while being held by police in April of 2015. (Photo by Jose Louis Magana-Pool/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Murder Trial Postponed For Officer Involved in Freddie Gray's Death

The jury selction for Officer Caesar Goodson's Trial is now postponed, after reports stated it will begin soon. 

The trial for Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who drove the van back in April where Freddie Gray sustained fatal spinal cord injuries, has been postponed due to a special order by the Court of Special Appeals. The stop came from a request of injunction from Officer William G. Porter to halt a city's order from a judge to have him testify against his fellow Officer Goodson Jr., according to the Baltimore Sun. Unfortunately, this will also slow down the dates for the cases regarding the other police officers involved in the case.

Out of the six officers that were involved in the incident, Goodson faces the most serious charges. These charges include: counts for second-degree depraved heart murder, (30 years), involuntary manslaughter, (10 years), second-degree assault (10 years), manslaughter by vehicle—gross negligence (10 years), manslaughter by vehicle—criminal negligence (3 years), misconduct in office and reckless endangerment (5 years), according to The New York Times.

The state’s central witness for the case is Officer Porter, whose own trial on assault, manslaughter and other chargers ended in a deadlocked jury last month. He is currently facing a retrial in June, simultaneously fighting against a judge’s order to testify against Officer Goodson. That said, he hasn’t been able to take the stand until his appeal is decided; an appeals court blocked him from being able to testify because of the unknown decision.

Though experts say that even with Officer Porter’s testimony, it will be a had task for prove chargers like: manslaughter, assault and “second-degree depraved heart murder,” which means murder with a willful disregard to human life. Previously, Officer Porter testified that he thought Freddie was faking his injuries, and that he informed Goodson that Gray had requested to go to a hospital.

For Goodson’s trial, the prosecutors team recently gained a new player by recruiting a new witness, Stanford Franklin, a retired Baltimore police officer who is also the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. The group argues against strict drug laws. Franklin has spoken to a slew of news organizations including, MSNBC commenting on Freddie’s death. In an interview with TheRealNews.com, Franklin stated officers should have known that Gray was in danger of facing serious injuries.

“Every police officer knows that someone in the back of that van, if they’re not seat-belted in, they’re, because of the inertia from making turns, from making starts, from making stops, they’re going to be thrown all over the inside of that van,” he said.

It’s worth noting, however, that the Baltimore Police Department has had an extensive history where black men have been injured in the back of a van in custody of police. In 1997, Jeffrey Alston became a quadriplegic after a van ride; eventually he settled with the city for $6 million dollars in 2004. Following that, Dondi Johnson Sr. dies after his spine was fractured during a van ride. Later, his family won a $7.4 million jury award, which was minimized on appeal.

With Baltimore's tumultuous relationship with vans and black men, let’s hope justice for Freddie Gray is served. What are your thoughts, should Officer Goodson Jr. be found guilty of all charges? Sound-off below.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Disturbing Footage From Aftermath Of Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder Released

Travis McMichael , the man who shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery can be seen drenched in blood as he speaks with authorities in new body camera video obtained by the Glynn County police.

The footage, first reported by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution on Monday (Dec. 14), shows Travis McMichael recounting the deadly incident with authorities. His hands and forearms are covered in Arbery’s blood.

One police officer at the scene attempts to calm Travis McMichael before gently asking him if there’s anyone that he wants them to call on his behalf. She goes on to explain that he has to go to the police station as a formality, and asks if he sustained any injuries.

Travis McMichael paces around with his hands in his pockets, at times wiping blood of his arms and face, while blaming Arbery for his own murder. Arbery’s body lay on the ground and he was still breathing at one point in the video, according to USA Today.

While authorities investigate the shooting, Travis McMichael appears agitated and tells an officer, “I want it [the investigation] done right, because this doesn’t look good. I mean, I just shot a man. Last thing I’ve ever wanted to do in my life.”

Arbery, 25, was out for a jog before being chased in a pick-up truck, cornered and gunned down by Travis McMichael with his father, Greg McMichael, a retired investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit D.A.’s office, by his side. Despite having no proof, father and son claim that they thought Arbery had been burglarizing the neighborhood.

Greg McMichael reportedly backed up his son’s account to police stating that his son “had no choice” but to kill Arbery. At least one  officer at the crime scene was familiar with Greg McMichael from his years in law enforcement and recent retirement.

In an additional recording, Greg McMichael says that he would have “shot him myself” and continues accusing Arbery of being the aggressor. “The guy turns and comes at him [Travis], and they start wrestling and Travis shoots him right in the damn chest,” he tells police. “The guy was trying to take the shotgun away from him [Travis].”

A third man, neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan filmed the incident on his cell phone and was later arrested for murder along with the McMichaels. Bryan has since questioned if they should have been following Arbery in the first place.

All three men remain jailed as they await trial on murder charges.

Click here to watch the body cam footage, but please be warned that the video is explicit.

Continue Reading
Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Bowie State And More HBCUs Receive Record-Breaking Donations From Billionaire

MacKenzie Scott is back at it! The billionaire venture philanthropist, novelist, and ex-wife of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, has donated tens of millions of dollars to several HBCUs in the last few days.

The week's isn't over yet, but so far, Scott has donated well over $100 million to historically Black colleges including Tougaloo College, which received $6 million on Wednesday (Dec. 16).

A day earlier, Scott gave a record $40 million each to Morgan State and Norfolk University, $25 million to Alcorn State University and Bowie State, $20 million to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore , and $15 million to Elizabeth City University.

Morgan State's $40 million gift is the largest single-party donation in the HBCU’s history, and the second-largest donation to a public Maryland university. 

“This monumental gift will change lives and shape futures,” Morgan State President David Wilson said in a statement. “I thank Ms. Scott for her due diligence and acknowledgement of the substantive value Morgan offers to so many throughout this nation and around the world, and entrusting that we will ensure the enduring impact of her generosity is truly transformational for many years to come.”

A majority of the donated funds will go to Morgan State’s newly established endowment fund. The remainder of the money will be used to continue the university’s efforts “essential to student success,” as well as advancing research and enhancing investments in other “mission-focused priorities and initiatives.”

Scott also donated millions to Howard University, Clark Atlanta and Delaware State University.

Her latest HBCU donation spree is a small portion of the $4 billion that she has given away over the last four months. The multi-billion dollar charitable windfall has been dispersed to 384 organizations and educational institutions in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.

And she’s still not done.

“Though I’m far from completing my pledge, this year of giving began with exposure to leaders from historically marginalized groups fighting inequities, and ended with exposure to thousands of organizations working to alleviate suffering for those hardest hit by the pandemic,” Scott wrote in a post on Medium.com. “Witnessing the determination, creativity, and compassion of people in a crisis has been inspiring.”

Continue Reading
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Father And Son Who Brutally Murdered Ahmaud Arbery Denied Bail

Travis and Gregory McMichael, the father-son duo charged for the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery, were denied bail and must remain behind bars, a judge ruled on Friday (Nov. 13). Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, urged the judge to keep Travis, 34, and Gregory, 64, in custody.

“These men are proud of what they've done,” she said according to NBC News. “In their selfish minds, they think they're good guys.”

William “Roddie” Bryan, a neighbor to the McMichales', was denied bail over the summer.

Bryan recorded Arbery’s murder. All three men have been indicted on suspicion of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

Investigators found racist text messages and social media posts from Travis McMichael,  Cobb County prosecutors noted in court on Thursday. Bryan also told authorities that he heard Travis use the n-word after fatally shooting Arbery.

Arbery, 25, was out for a jog in late February when the men, approached, cornered, and shot him to death. The incident was recorded on Bryan’s cell phone.

Continue Reading

Top Stories