The Latest: Demonstrators rally for justice for Freddie Gray

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Posted: Dec 01, 2015 12:33 AM
The Latest: Demonstrators rally for justice for Freddie Gray

BALTIMORE (AP) — The latest on the trial of a police officer accused in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a spinal injury in the back of a transport van (all times local):

8 p.m.

Protesters seeking justice for Freddie Gray have marched from the downtown courthouse to the city's Inner Harbor on the day that jury selection began for the first of six officers charged in Gray's death.

The first of six trials for officers charged in Gray's arrest, injury and death in April began Monday morning with jury selection in Officer William Porter's trial. Protesters demonstrated before the hearing began, and their chants could be heard inside the courtroom at times before they dispersed.

Another demonstration began Monday evening, even before the court wrapped up its work for the day. People rallied outside the courthouse and later marched to the Inner Harbor, then past Baltimore's World Trade Center office tower and the National Aquarium and on to City Hall. One carried a sign that read, "Stop the War on Black America." A woman led a chant of "If we don't get it," with people responding, "shut it down."

Among those speaking to the marchers along the way was Tawanda Jones. She is a prekindergarten teacher who has hosted weekly rallies around the city, seeking justice for her brother, Tyrone West, and others. West died in police custody in 2013 in Baltimore.

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6:10 p.m.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams has sent home for the night the first panel of prospective jurors in the trial for William Porter, one of six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

Williams told the group of 75 potential jurors that they should plan on returning Wednesday. Terri Charles, a court spokeswoman, said that some would be notified before Wednesday that they had been dismissed.

Charles added that a new panel of about 75 potential jurors will be called into court Tuesday morning.

Porter faces manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges stemming from Gray's April 19 death. He is accused of checking on Gray several times during his 45-minute ride in a transport van but failing to call for medical attention.

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1 p.m.

Gov. Larry Hogan says the state of Maryland has been preparing for any disturbances in Baltimore related to the trials of six officers in the death of Freddie Gray ever since he called in the National Guard to help restore order after the unrest in April.

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. He says his team has met almost on a weekly basis since April.

Hogan says he recognizes that there is "the potential for a flashpoint at some point in the future" and he wants to be prepared.

Hogan says: "It's sort of like we're hoping for the best but preparing for the worst."

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12:35 p.m.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams has begun questioning prospective jurors who spoke up during the first round of questioning in the jury selection process for Officer William Porter.

Williams conducted initial questioning publicly in a courtroom, but will interview individual jurors in private, in a conference room. 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.

Porter is one of six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, who died of a severe spinal injury he suffered while in police custody. His death led to widespread protests and rioting.

Porter faces manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges stemming from Gray's April 19 death. He is accused of checking on Gray several times during his 45-minute ride in a transport van but failing to call for medical attention.

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12:25 p.m.

All the potential jurors for the trial of a Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray have indicated that they've heard of the case.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams asked 75 potential jurors on Monday whether anyone had not heard about the Gray case, the city-wide curfew imposed after his death or the settlement paid to his family. No one in the group responded.

Gray's death prompted widespread protests and rioting in Baltimore, leading to the curfew.

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. Twenty-six people said they had strong feelings about the charges against Officer William Porter, which include manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. Ten said they had medical issues that would preclude them from serving on a jury.

Williams said he expects the trial to wrap up by Dec. 17.

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12:10 p.m.

Jury selection has begun in the trial of William Porter, one of six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

Roughly 75 prospective jurors were called into a Baltimore courtroom on Monday morning, and Circuit Judge Barry Williams began questioning the group. 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.

Gray was a 25-year-old black man who died a week after suffering a critical spinal injury while in custody. His death prompted widespread protests and rioting.

Williams read aloud more than 200 names of possible witnesses. That list included more than 100 Baltimore police officers, lawyers and prosecutors.