Baltimore police officer William Porter will have to testify against five fellow officers in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, Maryland's court of appeals ruled Tuesday, in what the Baltimore Sun calls a "big victory for the state." Gray was 25 when his spine was severed while he was in the back of a police van in April. According to USA Today, the jury in Porter's manslaughter trial was deadlocked in December, and trials for the other five officers involved were halted while the appeals court decided if Porter would have to testify against them. Now those trials are free to resume. The appeals court didn't explain its ruling, which reverses a lower court's ruling, stating it would release an opinion some time in the future, the AP reports.
Porter had requested he not be forced to testify against his fellow officers. A defense lawyer says making him do so while his own case remains unresolved could violate his right to not self-incriminate. Porter's retrial is not scheduled until after the other five trials. The ruling could be especially bad news for Officer Caesar Goodson, who was driving the van at the time of Gray's death and faces a second-degree murder charge. During his initial trial, Porter testified that Gray wasn't wearing a seatbelt in the van, and that it was Goodson's responsibility to make sure he was. He also testified that Gray requested to go to the hospital, but Goodson declined, instead picking up another prisoner and driving to the station. Porter was in the van for most of the ride, which prosecutors claim officers made intentionally rough for the unrestrained Gray.