Medical Expert Says Faster Medical Attention Could Have Saved Freddie Gray

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University of Maryland Law Professor Doug Colbert says medical experts bolstered the prosecution’s case in the 6th day of the trial of officer William Porter

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Story Transcript

JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. We’re in front of Courthouse East, where the trial of Officer William Porter has entered its sixth day. We spoke to one of the protesters gathered outside the courthouse.

JONATHAN: My name’s Jonathan. We’re out here because these cops who have murdered Freddie need to do some serious jail time. As we say, indict. Convict. Send the killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell.

NOOR: We also spoke to legal expert Doug Colbert about the three witnesses presented today. They all provided their medical expertise. We asked Colbert how their testimony went for the defense and the prosecution.

So Dr. Carol Allan, she was the person that conducted the autopsy on Freddie Gray. Chief assistant medical examiner. She was cross-examined. You could say it didn’t, it didn’t look so well for the prosecution. Give us your thoughts, and what kind of impact that might have on the trial.

DOUG COLBERT: Well, I thought she did much better today on cross-examination. I thought she held her ground, she explained things. And she certainly contested the defense suggestions.

NOOR: What was the defense trying to accomplish?

COLBERT: Well, the defense wanted to suggest that you had to prove intentional homicide, when the law allows for other states of mind, such as acting recklessly or acting negligently or gross negligently. And so I think the judge’s instructions will inform the jury about what they have to find in order to return a verdict of guilty or not guilty.

REPORTER: –Did its job when it tried to counter when he–the standards, between standards and guidelines, and rules and guidelines. Do you think they were effective with that? In essence trying to tell her how to do her job, or questioning that.

COLBERT: I thought the witness made clear that the standards really are the rules for how an autopsy is conducted. And the guidelines are there to be used at the doctor’s discretion. So I think that came across more clearly on cross-examination today.

NOOR: And the second witness was an expert, Dr. Morris Soriano. He said some pretty damning things on behalf of the prosecution. He said Freddie Gray could not have sustained that injury by himself, that it was a high-impact injury. And so, also he said Freddie Gray’s, you know, the fact that Freddie Gray didn’t get immediate medical attention helped–resulted in his, in being brain dead.

COLBERT: Yeah, they said if the paramedics arrived there wouldn’t be a brain injury. I mean, that’s pretty strong coming from an expert with his qualifications. They also said he was hungry for air. Now, the strength of Dr. Soriano is that he brought Freddie Gray into the courtroom again. So you could feel his injuries. You could hear him call out for help. And that’s very moving testimony for a jury. When you get into more technical areas of, of the cause of death, that’s where the defense is going to focus upon. They’re going to argue that the prosecution has not proved what actually caused the death, and they’re going to suggest that it could be anything from a self-inflicted injury to injuries that Officer Porter could not reasonably be held accountable.

NOOR: And finally, Angelique [Webster], she’s a firefighter-paramedic. Her testimony today, what impact do you think that had?

COLBERT: Well, I think by the time firefighter or paramedic Angelique came on the hope was, was gone. But she could certainly recognize his condition. Now, whether or not you need to be an expert or trained, compared to the training a police officer receives, will be a question for the jury. But I think she certainly pointed out not only his injury but also that the defendant or no other officer rushed to bring her along, to say we need help right away. And that also could have an impact on the jury.

NOOR: And finally, how would you evaluate how the prosecution’s case is going so far? It’s been about four days now.

COLBERT: Well, I think the prosecution has a strong case. I also think the defense are raising arguments that could cause jurors to find a reasonable doubt. And that’s what we want from our jury system. We want both sets of lawyers to be able to represent their sides well. It’s an adversarial system. And then we have a jury which, because of its multiracial composition, will decide this case, in my opinion, on the evidence, and not on race.

NOOR: Thank you. From Baltimore, this is Jaisal Noor for the Real News.

End

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