Baltimore Court begins hearings on Freddie Gray case

Baltimore police officers — top row from left, Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller and Edward M. Nero, and bottom row from left, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice and Alicia D. White — were charged with felonies ranging from assault to murder in the police-custody death of Freddie Gray.
Baltimore police officers — top row from left, Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller and Edward M. Nero, and bottom row from left, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice and Alicia D. White — were charged with felonies ranging from assault to murder in the police-custody death of Freddie Gray. /AP

A court in Baltimore will begin hearings today on the death of a 25-year-old black man.

Six police officers have been charged in the arrest and the subsequent death of Freddie Gray.

NPR's Jennifer Ludden filed this report for the Newscast unit:

"Riots erupted last April after Gray died of a severe spinal injury. That happened while Gray was being transported in the back of a police van.

"The driver is charged with second degree murder, three others with manslaughter, and two more officers with lesser charges.

"Today's hearing will consider pre-trial motions calling for the case to be dismissed, and for the state's attorney to be recused. At issue is also whether the six officers will face trial next month together, or separately. Next week, another hearing will consider whether to move the trial out of Baltimore."

The Baltimore Sun reports that activists plan to stage protests at the courthouse and across the city as the hearings begin.

"Our message is pretty obvious. Do not drop the charges. No change in venue. Do not recuse Marilyn Mosby," Sharon Black, of the Baltimore People's Power Assembly, told the Sun.

Mosby is the Baltimore state's attorney who catapulted into the national spotlight after she announced charges against the officer at a dramatic and emotional press conference.

The Gray case resulted in one night of riots and days of peaceful protests in Baltimore.

In May, the Justice Department, prompted by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, opened a civil rights investigation into the Baltimore Police Department.

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