Dru Hill Calls For 'Change' In Hometown Of Baltimore | us news

Dru Hill Calls For ‘Change’ In Hometown Of Baltimore

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

First Freddie Gray trial begins in Baltimore as demoralized police prepare for potential riots.

The trial for the first of six Maryland police officers charged in the in-custody death of Freddie Gray has begun with jury selection. Officer William Porter, 26, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office. “This is a different day for Baltimore citizens, to have police go to trial,” Tessa Hill-Alston, the local NAACP’s chapter president, told the Baltimore Sun. “This is a monumental thing.” Porter was not one of the three officers who initially arrested Gray, a 25-year-old man who ran from police after making eye contact with a bike cop on April 12.

The 26-year-old officer was along for the 45-minute ride in a police transport van that made several stops between the arrest and arriving at the station, and is accused of failing to get medical assistance for Gray during those stops, despite pleas from the prisoner that he needed help and couldn’t breathe. The Republican governor said Monday that a security team in his administration has been working with the city’s police commissioner and the state police superintendent. The verdict could have immediate consequences for Baltimore: An acquittal could mean protests and potentially more unrest, while a conviction could shake the city’s already distressed police department. All jurors indicated they were familiar with the $6.4 million civil settlement paid to Gray’s family, as well as the curfew enacted amid April’s unrest. Mosby announced criminal charges against all six police officers involved in the arrest of Gray, which she declared “a homicide” and “an illegal arrest.” In a September pretrial hearing, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry G.

About 80 prospective jurors remained in the courtroom as Williams began interviewing members who raised their hands to indicate potential conflicts — based upon beliefs, relationships or encounters as questioned. Williams denied a defense motion to move the proceedings to another Maryland jurisdiction, saying in his ruling that it was wrong to “assume [jurors] cannot be fair” without going through the voir dire process. Out of 75 potential jurors, 66 will need to be questioned individually — an indication of how difficult the jury selection process could be for the high-profile trial. He added that he was not convinced that the intense media coverage of the case and the April riots had influenced Baltimore’s citizens because the coverage had been “local, state, national, international.” Williams has said he expects to question 75 to 80 potential jurors during the preliminary examinations, known as voir dire, on Monday.

I know he will uphold the highest standards.” At the beginning of September, the city government approved a $6.4 million wrongful-death settlement with Gray’s family, even though they had not yet filed a lawsuit. In the wake of the violence, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake faced criticism and has since dropped her bid for re-election, while then-Police Commissioner Anthony Batts was fired. Defense lawyers have argued that the settlement, even though it specifically did not admit liability on the part of the Baltimore police officers, would affect their ability to receive fair trials. The trials, like Gray’s death, are expected to serve as a microcosm for deeper, more systemic issues the city and the nation face, and throw into sharp relief Baltimore’s social and political troubles.

For one, the lack of an incumbent in the mayoral race has opened the door for others to step in – including former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who was forced to resign after being accused of embezzlement; and Nick Mosby, a city councilman and husband to state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby, who is leading the charge against the six officers. “If it doesn’t go over well, what will Christmas be like? Twelve jurors said they had family members who are in law enforcement, while 37 said they had been a victim or a suspect in a crime, had been to jail or had charges pending against them.

He is expected to take the stand in his trial, and is being tried first in part because prosecutors want to use him as a witness in the trials of several of the other officers, AP reported. I know what’s important: that we have order in the city,” she said. “I’m prayerful that justice will prevail and the officers will be given a fair trial by a fair and impartial jury, and that the citizens of Baltimore and the police can respect the decision.” A small group of protesters gathered outside the courtroom just before 9 a.m., and their chants of “All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray,” could be heard throughout the morning’s proceedings. Nicknamed ‘Pepper’, Gray was struggling to break away from his life as a dealer on West Baltimore’s corners. “You know, so he was always, always, like, banging around,” Porter said in the statement excerpted in the filing. “It was always a big scene whenever you attempted to arrest Freddie Gray.” Despite Gray’s previous run-ins with the law, prosecutors argue that Porter should have sought medical attention when Gray requested it.

In July, defense attorneys accused prosecutors of “judge-shopping” ‒ a method used by attorneys when filing the same lawsuit with several judges in order to get the judge of their choice, described by US Legal as reprehensible but not illegal. In June, the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied Baltimore’s request for federal disaster relief funds as “not appropriate for this event.”

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