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Baltimore cop ordered to testify against fellow officers in Freddie Gray death trial

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A Maryland judge on Wednesday ordered a Baltimore police officer to testify against other officers charged in the death of detainee Freddie Gray.

A lawyer for the officer, William Porter, said he would seek an appeals court injunction to block Porter from testifying against Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. and Sergeant Alicia White.

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams said Porter, whose own trial ended in a hung jury last month, could be compelled to take the stand since state prosecutors had offered him immunity in exchange for testifying.

Williams said during a pre-trial hearing that Porter’s “extremely important testimony is needed in the Goodson and White cases.”

Goodson is the second of six officers scheduled to stand trial for Gray’s death in April and faces the most serious charge, second-degree depraved-heart murder. The trial is set to begin on Monday with jury selection.

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The 46-year-old officer, who like Gray is black, was the driver of the van where Gray, who was arrested after fleeing police, sustained the broken neck that killed him.

The majority black city of 620,000 people exploded in arson and rioting after Gray’s funeral. The unrest followed other police killings of black men in cities including New York and Ferguson, Missouri.

Porter’s own trial on involuntary manslaughter and other charges ended in a mistrial last month and a retrial is set for June.

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Williams issued his order after denying a defense motion to quash a subpoena forcing Porter to testify. Porter took the stand to say that he would invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination if called to testify.

Porter’s lawyers said that if he is forced to testify, material could emerge that could be used against him in retrial.

Doug Colbert, a University of Maryland law professor, said of Williams’ decision, “This is a straightforward ruling. The government has the power to compel testimony if they offer immunity.”

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Goodson faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the murder charge. In Maryland, “depraved-heart” murder is a killing done while acting with extreme disregard for human life.

He also is accused of manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.

Williams also denied a request from Goodson’s lawyers to move the trial out of the city due to the intense publicity surrounding the case.

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(Reporting by Donna Owens; Writing by Ian Simpson; Editing by Scott Malone and James Dalgleish)


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Black Georgia lawmaker accuses white man of demanding she ‘go back where she came from’ in supermarket diatribe

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On Friday evening, Erica Thomas, and African-American Democratic lawmaker in the Georgia House of Representatives, was shopping at a Publix supermarket in Mableton when a white customer came up to her and shouted at her, telling her to "go back where you came from" — words echoing President Donald Trump's recent racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color.

Thomas' crime? She had too many items for the express checkout line.

Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!

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Trump offers to guarantee bail for rapper A$AP Rocky

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US President Donald Trump offered Saturday to guarantee the bail of rapper ASAP Rocky, detained in Sweden on suspicion of assault following a street brawl.

Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who he said gave assurances that the singer would be treated fairly.

"Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative," Trump wrote.

There is no system of bail in Sweden.

Trump said he and Lofven had agreed to speak again over the next 48 hours.

Fans, fellow artists and US Congress members have campaigned for the 30-year-old artist, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, to be freed since his arrest on July 3 following the fight on June 30.

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The best Civil War movie ever made finally gets its due

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On Sunday and on July 24, Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events are presenting big-screen showings in theaters nationwide of “Glory,” in honor of the 30-year anniversary of its release. The greatest movie ever made about the American Civil War, “Glory” was the first and, with the exception of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” the only film that eschewed romanticism to reveal what the war was really about.

The story is told through the eyes of one of the first regiments of African American soldiers. Almost from the time the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, S.C., the issue of black soldiers in the Union army was hotly debated. On Jan. 1, 1863, as the country faced the third year of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, rapidly accelerating the process of putting black men into federal blue.

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