Trials Spliced for Police in Freddie Gray Case

     BALTIMORE (CN) – Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, only one of whom has been charged with murder, will face separate trials, a judge ruled.
     Gray, 25, died a week after suffering a spinal-cord injury during his arrest on April 12. Video of the arrest shot by a bystander shows Gray dragging his feet while police put him in a van.
     Caesar Goodson Jr., the police officer who drove that van, is charged with second-degree, depraved-heart murder.
     Sgt. Alicia White, Lt. Brian W. Rice and Officer William Porter are charged with manslaughter, and officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller are charged with crimes including second-degree assault.
     All six have been charged with misconduct in office and they are all free on bonds after pleaded not guilty in May arraignments.
     Judge Barry Williams with the Baltimore Circuit Court granted each officer a separate trial at the close of a lengthy hearing Wednesday.
     In the first part of the hearing, Williams refused to dismiss the charges against the officers and refused to recuse State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby from the case.
     Neither the officers nor Gray’s family attended the hearing.
     The day of Gray’s funeral on April 27 saw riots erupt in several areas in the city. At least 235 people were arrested over the next few nights, and hundreds of businesses were damaged or set on fire.
     A citywide curfew imposed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, combined with Gov. Larry Hogan’s deployment of the National Guard, helped quiet the unrest.
     Mosby announced charges against the officers back in May, and a grand jury followed up with an indictment soon thereafter.
     Judge Williams said Wednesday that trying the officers together would not be “in the interest of justice,” said as key evidence that is admissible with regard to one officer may be inadmissible for another.
     Defense attorneys argued that statements made by the officers during the investigation into the case could incriminate one of the co-defendants, “pitting one’s right not to take the stand with another’s right to confront his or her accuser.”
     Neither attorneys for the prosecution nor the defense made a public statement after the hearing as members of the media waited at an area setup for that purpose outside the courthouse.
     Oral arguments on the dismissal and recusal motions focused on claims that Mosby had tainted the jury pool in announcing charges against the officers.
     Judge Williams will hold another hearing on Sept. 10 to decide whether the trials will be held in Baltimore or at another venue outside the city.

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