Judge refuses to drop charges against officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death

A Baltimore judge has ordered separate trials for the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams made the ruling after hearing arguments that three of the officers be tried together and the other three separately.

Earlier in the day he also denied a defense motion for the charges to be dropped against the officers in the death of the 25-year-old, who endured a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody on April 12 and died a week later.

Protesters gathered outside the court at the beginning of the day and were met with a large police presence. There were scuffles between officers, leading to the arrest of Kwame Rose.

Defense attorneys had sought to drop the charges — which range from second-degree assault to second-degree murder — because of prosecutorial misconduct on the part of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. Williams, however, said that while he was ‘troubled’ by Mosby’s public comments regarding initial statements made by the officers to investigators, they are not likely to prejudice a jury.

Andrew Graham, an attorney representing Officer Caesar Goodson, had unsuccessfully argued that Mosby’s comments after filing charges against the officers were ‘reckless and unprofessional,’ and violated the rules of conduct. He likened Mosby’s comments on the case to a ‘pep rally calling for payback.’

Williams also ruled against another defense motion, one that sought to have Mosby removed from the case due to what the defense contended were conflicts of interest.

He called the assertion that Mosby’s judgment was impacted by the fact that her husband Nick Mosby is a councilman in a district that experienced a disproportionate amount of violence ‘troubling and condescending.’

‘Being married to a councilman is not a reason for recusal,’ he said.

Williams added that allegations of prosecutorial misconduct must be addressed by the Attorney Grievance Commission.

Williams will hear arguments about whether the officers should be tried together or separately when court resumes later Wednesday.

Officers Edward Nero, Garrett Miller, William Porter and Goodson, as well as Lt. Brian Rice and Sgt. Alicia White, face charges in Gray’s death. They did not attend the hearing.

All the officers face second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office charges. Rice, Porter and White also face manslaughter charges, and Goodson faces an additional charge of second-degree murder.

Dozens of protesters rallied outside the Baltimore courthouse to express their anger and indignation over Gray’s treatment. Many of them then marched in the street to the city’s Inner Harbor area, where they blocked a main road briefly. Police lined up behind them, and directed them out of the road. Police handcuffed one protester while he was on his stomach in the street.

Activists demonstrated outside Baltimore Circuit Court as the first hearing began in the case of the black man who died a week after suffering a spinal cord injury he suffered while in the back of a police van.

Scuffles with officers started breaking out around the courthouse, leading to the arrest of social activist Kwame Rose.

He was held down and threatened with a taser before officers threatened to put him into the back of a police van, similar to the one where Gray suffered the fatal injuries earlier this year.

Vine posted online shows officers saying ‘do not resist’ as he struggles on the tarmac.

Journalists and spectators filled most of the approximately 160 seats in the wood-paneled courtroom.

The defendants were not present. Mosby was in the courtroom but did not sit at the state’s table with four assistant prosecutors.

Gray was a black man who died a week after suffering a critical spinal injury in custody. Charged in connection with his death are Officers Edward Nero, Garrett Miller, William Porter and Caesar Goodson, as well as Lt. Brian Rice and Sgt. Alicia White

The 25-year-old Gray suffered a severe spinal cord injury on April 12 while in their custody. He died a week later.

Dozens of protesters rallied outside the Baltimore courthouse to express their anger and indignation over Gray’s death.

Many of them then marched in the street to the city’s Inner Harbor area, where they blocked a main road briefly.

Police lined up behind them, and directed them out of the road. Police handcuffed one protester while he was on his stomach in the street.

The officers face charges that range from second-degree assault, a misdemeanor, to second-degree ‘depraved-heart’ murder. Gray’s death led to protests in Baltimore and a riot that prompted National Guard intervention and a city-wide curfew.

Protester Lee Paterson said he’s concerned charges could be dropped.

‘You know, this whole thing is bigger than Freddie Gray,’ Paterson said. ‘It’s about poverty.’

Source: The DailyMail

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