From my post over at Legal Insurrection:
The defense has opened with a bang in the “Freddie Gray” trial of Police Officer William Porter, bringing to the stand as their first witness noted forensic pathologist Dr. Vincent Di Maio, who is testifying that Gray’s death should have been ruled an accident, not a homicide.
As reported by Kalani Gordon at the Baltimore Sun:
Dr. Vincent Di Maio, a forensic pathologist and former chief medical examiner in San Antonio, said Gray’s injury was “so violent, it’s so high-energy,” that it would have immediately caused Gray to lose control of his body and his diaphragm, which is critical for breathing and speaking.
“This has all the appearances of a single catastrophic injury,” he said.
Gray could not have suffered his severe spinal cord, then, at the fourth stop of the van in which he was injured, when Porter found him on the floor of the van and Gray allegedly asked for help, said he couldn’t breathe and said he needed a medic.
The injury had essentially “cut off the head from the body” in a neurological sense, Di Maio testified. He said Gray’s spinal cord was 80 percent crushed.
“You had a head and a body and they were disconnected,” he said. “You aren’t feeling anything. You aren’t able to move. He was paralyzed. He was quadriplegic.”
Dr. Di Maio went on to characterize the injury as an “accident,” and not a “homicide”:
Di Maio said he believed Gray was injured between the fifth and sixth stops, and that his death was not a homicide as state medical examiner Dr. Carol Allan found, but an accident.
“It’s just an accident,” he said, “and accidents happen.”
On cross-examination by the prosecution, Dr. Di Maio was adamant that Gray would have been unable to speak after the injury (meaning that Gray could not have already suffered his injury at the stop at which he asked Porter for help):
[Prosecutor] Schatzow pointed out that Gray’s spinal cord was not 100 percent cut, and questioned whether Di Maio was sure that Gray would not have been able to speak at the fourth stop in which he talked with Porter.
“Impossible?” Schatzow asked.
“Yes sir,” Di Maio said.
“Completely impossible,” Schatzow asked.
To read the whole thing, click over to Legal Insurrection.