ABOVE PHOTO: Betto Rodrigues / Shutterstock.com
By Juliet Linderman
BALTIMORE — A judge was expected to decide when the first of six Baltimore officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died after suffering injuries in police custody, will go to trial.
Judge Barry Williams has called a scheduling conference Tuesday afternoon to determine when and in what order the officers, who face charges ranging from second-degree assault to second-degree “depraved-heart” murder, will be tried.
Williams ruled earlier this month that each officer will get his or her own trial. The state indicated in a letter sent to the judge that they want between three and five days to present their case against each officer, and intend to call at least one officer to testify against the others.
Gray died April 19, a week after he was injured. His death inspired protests and rioting in Baltimore, and came to symbolize the treatment of black men by police in America, and shed light on long-standing and systemic disenfranchisement of African American populations in the city.
Attorneys for the six officers asked Williams to move the trials outside of Baltimore, citing pre-trial media coverage they say could prejudice a jury. Williams ruled to keep the trials in Baltimore, but kept the door open to re-evaluate his decision should the state and defense run into problems seating a jury.
The first trial is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 13, however Williams will likely push back that date Tuesday. It is unclear whether Williams will schedule all the trials, or set the date only for the first one.
Prosecutors have asked to try Officer William Porter, who is charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office charges, first, and suggested in a letter to the judge that the state intends to call Porter to testify against Sgt. Alicia White, who faces identical charges, and Officer Caesar Goodson, who faces an additional “depraved-heart” murder charge. Officers Garrett Miller and Edward Nero face misdemeanor assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges, as does Lt. Brian Rice, who also faces a manslaughter charge.