Proving a negative: In Porter case, inaction is on trial

BALTIMORE (AP) – He didn’t fire a gun or wield a Taser. He didn’t place anyone in a chokehold or wrestle anyone to the ground. In fact, William Porter barely touched Freddie Gray.

But Porter, the first officer on trial in Gray’s death, is accused of manslaughter for failing to pay enough attention to the 25-year-old black man, who was handcuffed and shackled in the back of a police van and suffered what would be a fatal spinal injury.

In Porter’s case, an officer’s negligence, rather than violent acts or excessive force, is on trial. He is also charged with assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. If convicted, Porter faces up to 25 years in prison. Legal experts say when it’s inaction rather than action that’s in question, it could be a hard case to prove.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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