Medical examiner faces tough cross-examination from attorney for Porter

Joseph Murtha, defense attorney for Officer William Porter, attacked the version of events put forward by the medical examiner to explain the injuries that led to Freddie Gray's death.

During three contentious hours of questioning, assistant medical examiner Dr. Carol Allan repeatedly defended the conclusions of her investigation against suggestions by Murtha that they couldn't be fully supported by objective evidence, and that her methods were less than thorough.

In particular, Murtha attacked Allan's assertion that Gray's injuries were sustained between the second and fourth stops made by the van transporting him from the site of his arrest near the Gilmor Homes in west Baltimore to the Western District police station.

Murtha also highlighted Porter's own statement that he twice advised fellow officers that Gray required medical attention and would have to be taken to a hospital rather than Central Booking.

Asked by Murtha whether she would have ruled Gray's death a homicide had officer Caesar Goodson, the van's driver, taken the prisoner immediately to the hospital after the first time Porter suggested Gray required medical attention, Allan said simply, "No."

Near the end of Allan's time on the witness stand today, Murtha also cornered her into admitting that there was no "objective" way to know based on available evidence whether Gray had been given a "rough ride." There was no electronic recording equipment in the van, Allan said, and no eyewitnesses who gave statements about erratic driving on Goodson's part.

Earlier, Murtha attempted to cast doubt on whether Allan's investigation was thorough, questioning why she had not spoken directly to Porter or any of the other officers, and asking at one point whether Allan had tested her theories by asking police to zip-tie her hand and foot, as Gray was, and place her in the back of the van face down on the floor, as Gray was.

"You've made up this thing you call evidence," Murtha told her.

The tension between Murtha and Allan was punctuated by frequent objections by prosecutors to the way in which he questioned her. Judge Barry Williams sustained those objections several times, admonishing Murtha not to "testify in my court" rather than ask the witness questions. At one point he told Murtha he would hold him in contempt if he continued in the same vein.

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