Freddie Gray Case: Protests Outside the Courthouse Turned into Riot

Posted on September 2, 2015

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by Bradley Matthews, editing by Alex JS

Protests Lead To Arrest As Baltimore Police Interrupt Courthouse Demonstration

UPDATE, 10:30 a.m. EDT: The Baltimore Police Department confirmed that officers arrested one person Wednesday during protests outside Baltimore City Courthouse East near Pratt and Calvert Streets. The protest group, estimated to include between 50 and 75 people, briefly blocked the road, according to a statement on Facebook.

Original Post: Protests turned into a citizen-police confrontation Wednesday morning near the Baltimore courthouse where attorneys for six police officers were due to appear in the Freddie Gray case. A pretrial hearing was scheduled to settle two motions around the alleged police killing of the unarmed black man — one that called for prosecutor Marilyn Mosby to be recused and another that would drop the charges against the officers, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Activists gathered outside the Circuit Court for Baltimore City Courthouse East early Wednesday to protest police brutality, chanting phrases like “no justice, no peace.” “We want to get our message out that the people of Baltimore want justice and that we are opposed to dropping any of the charges on the six police, moving the trial venue, or removing the Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby from this case,” Sharon Black of the People’s Power Assembly told WBAL in a statement.

Shortly after 9:30 a.m. EDT, the hearing’s designated start time, Twitter users posted messages that officers had begun telling the demonstrators to disperse or be arrested. Police reportedly wore riot gear and arrested activist Kwame Rose, for whom they then called an ambulance.

Baltimore police had already canceled all officers’ leave for Wednesday and Sept. 10, the next pretrial hearing in the Gray case. They told WBAL they wanted to be prepared for any riots similar to the ones that occurred after Gray’s death in April. “We have hindsight, and we would rather err on the side of caution and have people ready, if needed,” police spokesman T.J. Smith said.

The six officers, all of whom have pleaded not guilty, are Officer Caesar R. Goodson, Officer William G. Porter, Lt. Brian W. Rice, Sgt. Alicia D. White, Officer Edward M. Nero and Officer Garrett E. Mille. They were accused of a variety of crimes, including second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault for the death of Gray.

What you need to know for today’s Freddie Gray hearing

Ater months of sharply worded motions by prosecutors and defense attorneys, legal questions surrounding the officers charged in Freddie Gray’s arrest and death will be aired publicly for the first time in a solemn, wood-paneled courtroom in downtown Baltimore.

What is happening Wednesday?

Prosecutors and the defense attorneys representing the six Baltimore Police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray are scheduled to appear in court for a hearing in which the judge will hear arguments on key motions in the case. One is a defense motion to dismiss the charges against the officers because of prosecutorial misconduct by Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby; the second is a motion for Mosby and other prosecutors in her office to be recused from the case. Both sides are also expected to debate whether the officers should be tried together or separately.

The pre-trial motions hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Courthouse East, 111 N. Calvert St.

Is it on TV?

No. Maryland’s laws prohibit cameras and recording devices from court rooms.

Oh. So, how can I follow the proceedings?

The Baltimore Sun is hosting a live blog with updates throughout the day. You can follow along at bsun.md/live.

Will there be protests?

Yes. At least one person has been arrested as a group of protesters gathered near the Inner Harbor.

Baltimore police ordered protesters in the area of Pratt and Calvert streets to “remain on the sidewalk.” The group has roughly 50 to 75 people, according to police.

How did we get to this point?

Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12 and suffered a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody. He died a week later. His funeral on April 27 was followed by citywide rioting, looting and arson. On May 1, Mosby announced criminal charges against the six officers from the stairs of the Baltimore War Memorial. Later that month, the six officers were indicted by a grand jury.

What are the charges against the police officers?

Officer Caesar R. Goodson, the driver of the van used to transport Gray, is charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder, the most serious charge among the six officers. He also is charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault, two counts of vehicular manslaughter and misconduct in office.

Three officers, Officer William G. Porter, Lt. Brian W. Rice, and Sgt. Alicia D. White, face involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office charges. Officers Edward M. Nero and Garrett E. Miller are charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

All six officers have pleaded not guilty.

Could those charges be dropped?

The judge will begin to assess that at Wednesday’s hearing.

How would the cases be split?

Nobody knows. Prosecutors have previously said they would like to try four officers — Nero, Miller, Goodson and White — together. They would try the other two — Lt. Brian Rice and Officer William Porter — together in another trial.

The defense attorneys have said they want their clients charged separately.

Are the officers expected to attend the hearing?

All six officers have filed waivers of their right to appear, an indication that they intend not to.

Who is the judge?

Circuit Court Judge Barry Glenn Williams, 53. He has been an associate judge with the Baltimore City Circuit Court since December 2005. Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Virginia and a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

What are other key dates in the case?

The sides are scheduled to return to court on Sept. 10, where they are expected to argue a motion to move the officers’ trials out of Baltimore. A trial date has been scheduled for Oct. 13, though that could change as the individual motions are considered by the judge.

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Posted in: CRIME, NEWS