Officer Porter's taped statement played for jury in trial for Freddie Gray's death

Officer Porter's taped statement played for jury in trial for Freddie Gray's death
Courthouse East, where testimony was heard in the William Porter trial (Brandon Weigel)

In an interview with Baltimore Police investigators five days after the arrest of Freddie Gray, Officer William Porter stated that he heard Gray say multiple times he needed a medical attention but could not say why.

Porter informed both the driver of the van carrying Gray, Caesar Goodson, and his superior, Sgt. Alicia White, that Gray had requested medical attention.


Prosecutors showed Porter's taped statement from April to the jury in Porter's trial on Friday morning. Earlier testimony in the trial indicated officers should call a medic immediately once a detainee asks for one, but Porter told investigators he thought Gray was "lethargic" from an "adrenaline dump" after running, being arrested, and "kicking around" in the back of the van.

He also said emergency crews will only answer calls in emergency situations when a reason can be given.

Significant attention was paid to one of six stops made by the van, at Druid Hill Avenue and Dolphin Street. Porter found Gray on the van floor and asked if he was OK. Gray only responded when Porter asked if he needed medical attention, saying, "Yes." Porter then said he picked Gray up and sat him on one of the benches in the van. He did not belt Gray in.

"Goodson and I both agreed he's not going to go through Central Booking that way," he told investigators.

But when asked, "Did he look weird to you? Did he look like he needed medical attention at that time?" Porter responded he thought Gray had expended energy and adrenaline.

The investigator asked if Gray looked the same at a stop at North and Pennsylvania avenues.

"Yeah, both times he looked lethargic," Porter said.

"Was he gasping for air?"

"Nah, it didn't look like he was gasping for air."

Porter alerted White that Gray had asked for medical attention.

It wasn't until back at the Western District station, when Gray's body was limp, that an officer on the scene* exclaimed, "Oh shit, we need to call for a medic."

In the cross-examination of one of the investigators, Det. Syreeta Teel, defense attorney Gary Proctor contended his client had both informed an officer with more experience, Goodson, and his superior officer.

He asked Teel if Porter had been cooperative, and if she first reached out to him as a witness. She affirmed both.

*Correction: A previous version of this post attributed this quote to Porter. City Paper regrets the error.