Lawrence Grandpre of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle responds to jury selection and prosecution’s opening arguments
LAWRENCE GRANDPRE: I’m Lawrence Grandpre, from Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle. We’re at the William Porter trial. JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: So Lawrence, talk about your reaction to the jury selection, as well as the opening arguments by the prosecution. GRANDPRE: Jury selection was really interesting. The defense actually used all six of their strikes on black people. The majority of which on men of color, many of them younger. Which conforms to many peoples’ fears that young men of color may be seen as biased against the police and therefore be excluded from the trial. Now, the actual demographic from the jury represented Baltimore. Two-thirds black, one-third white. We obviously don’t know any of the details of the individuals in particular. I do think the strike pattern of the defense, though, is the big story of the jury selection, while the defense–or the prosecution, excuse me, used their strikes on a diversity of folks, the defense only used their strikes on black folks, predominantly younger black folks. NOOR: And the prosecution alleges that Freddie Gray said he couldn’t breathe, and William Porter the defendant failed to do his duty as an officer to provide medical care. Taken him six seconds to do it. And therefore the prosecution’s arguing the jury should convict him. GRANDPRE: Well, the opening statement started off pretty technical, explaining some of the nuances of the Baltimore Police Department. But it ended pretty strong in terms of the prosecution claiming that the defendant had multiple opportunities to intervene in that situation, where Freddie Gray had clearly severely diminished physical capacities, as explained by a broken neck that the defense claimed was sustained in the van. Now, claiming that leads to a conviction not of murder but of manslaughter. And just on the face it seems pretty compelling. I think the big question is what tack is the defense going to take in terms of this particular defense and how their arguments in this case relate to a trial, a trial series that has six different cases, all with potentially conflicting and interrelated facts and stories to be told. That’s the big question is, what is the defense going to say, and what the defense says about Porter going to interact with all six trials being presented. NOOR: Thanks so much, Lawrence. GRANDPRE: No problem.
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