Court hearing for 6 officers charged in death of Freddie Gray

Pastor Westley West, from Faith Empowered Ministries, leads protesters as they march towards Pratt Street and the Inner Harbor, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Baltimore, as the first court hearing was set to begin in the case of six police officers criminally charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Six police officers face charges that range from second-degree assault, a misdemeanor, to second-degree "depraved-heart" murder. (Lloyd Fox/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Pastor Westley West, from Faith Empowered Ministries, leads protesters as they march towards Pratt Street and the Inner Harbor, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Baltimore, as the first court hearing was set to begin in the case of six police officers criminally charged in the death of Freddie Gray. (Lloyd Fox/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

BALTIMORE (AP) — A Baltimore judge on Wednesday refused to dismiss charges against six police officers in connection with the death of a black man who had been seriously injured while in custody. The judge also refused to remove the prosecutor in the case that sparked riots in Baltimore last spring.
During a pretrial hearing, Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams denied a defense motion for the charges to be dropped against the officers in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who endured a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody on April 12 and died a week later. Gray’s death sparked protests, rioting and unrest that lasted for days.
Judge Barry Williams
Judge Barry Williams

Defense attorneys had sought to drop the charges — which range from second-degree assault to second-degree murder — because of prosecutorial misconduct on the part of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. Williams, however, said that while Mosby’s public comments regarding initial statements made by the officers to investigators were “troubling,” they are not likely to prejudice a jury.
Andrew Graham, an attorney representing Officer Caesar Goodson, had unsuccessfully argued that Mosby’s comments after filing charges against the officers were “reckless and unprofessional,” and violated the rules of conduct. He likened Mosby’s comments on the case to a “pep rally calling for payback.”
Williams also ruled against another defense motion, one that sought to have Mosby removed from the case due to what the defense contended were conflicts of interest.
He called the assertion that Mosby’s judgment was impacted by the fact that her husband Nick Mosby is a councilman in a district that experienced a disproportionate amount of violence “troubling and condescending.”
“Being married to a councilman is not a reason for recusal,” he said.
In this Friday, May 1, 2015 file photo, Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore's top prosecutor, speaks during a news conference in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
In this Friday, May 1, 2015 file photo, Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore’s top prosecutor, speaks during a news conference in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Williams added that allegations of prosecutorial misconduct must be addressed by the Attorney Grievance Commission.
Williams will hear arguments about whether the officers should be tried together or separately when court resumes later Wednesday.
Officers Edward Nero, Garrett Miller, William Porter and Goodson, as well as Lt. Brian Rice and Sgt. Alicia White, face charges in Gray’s death. They did not attend the hearing.
All the officers face second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office charges. Rice, Porter and White also face manslaughter charges, and Goodson faces an additional charge of second-degree murder.
Dozens of protesters made their way to the Inner Harbor before the pretrial hearing began. Dozens of officers responded and cleared protesters from the streets to keep traffic moving at the end of the morning rush hour.
Baltimore Police try to control an angry protesters while detaining activist Kwame Rose as demonstrators marched to Pratt Street and the Inner Harbor, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Baltimore, as the first court hearing was set to begin in the case of six police officers criminally charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Six police officers face charges that range from second-degree assault, a misdemeanor, to second-degree "depraved-heart" murder. (Lloyd Fox/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Baltimore Police try to control an angry protesters while detaining activist Kwame Rose as demonstrators marched to Pratt Street and the Inner Harbor, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Baltimore, as the first court hearing was set to begin in the case of six police officers criminally charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Six police officers face charges that range from second-degree assault, a misdemeanor, to second-degree “depraved-heart” murder. (Lloyd Fox/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis told WBAL Radio that a protester had “kicked a police officer in the face, and that’s unacceptable.”
Police spokesman T.J. Smith said charges are being filed against the man. He did not specify what the charges would be. The man was arrested for blocking the road and ignoring warnings to return to sidewalk, according to a police news release.
The man arrested was identified by witnesses as Kwame Rose, a well-known local activist.

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