Baltimore judge to schedule police trials in black man's death

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 29, 2015 6:03 AM

By Ian Simpson

(Reuters) - A Baltimore judge on Tuesday is expected to set trial dates for six police officers charged in the death of a black man from an injury suffered in police custody, an event that triggered local protests, arson and rioting.

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams will hold an afternoon scheduling hearing with prosecutors and defense lawyers in the case arising from the death of Freddie Gray in April.

Gray, 25, died from a spinal injury suffered in the back of a police van, leading to the demonstrations and looting in the largely black city later that month. It also fueled a U.S. debate on police treatment of minorities.

Trial is set to start on Oct. 13. That date has been put in doubt by Williams' decision last month to agree to defense motions to hold individual trials for the officers.

Williams last month rejected a defense request that the trials be moved from Baltimore because of intense publicity surrounding the case.

Police arrested Gray after a foot chase and he was bundled into a police transport van while shackled and handcuffed. He was not placed in a seat belt and officers ignored his request for medical aid.

The officers face charges ranging from second-degree

depraved heart murder for the driver, Officer Caesar Goodson, to assault, manslaughter and misconduct. Three of the officers are white and three are black, including one woman.

Citing an initial police review, the Baltimore Sun reported on Saturday that one of the officers charged with manslaughter, William Porter, had told Goodson that Gray appeared to need medical assistance but none was provided at the time.

Baltimore has agreed to pay Gray's family a civil settlement of $6.4 million.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Eric Walsh)