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First Trial in Freddie Gray Murder Case Set for November

  • VOA News

Baltimore police officers charged in Freddie Gray's death, top row from left, Caesar Goodson Jr., Garrett Miller and Edward Nero, and bottom row from left, William Porter, Brian Rice and Alicia White.

Baltimore police officers charged in Freddie Gray's death, top row from left, Caesar Goodson Jr., Garrett Miller and Edward Nero, and bottom row from left, William Porter, Brian Rice and Alicia White.

A Baltimore judge has set November 30 as the start of the trial of one of the six Baltimore police officers charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray, the young African-American man who was fatally injured while in police custody in April.

Officer William Porter will go on trial first. He is charged with manslaughter, misconduct in office, assault and reckless endangerment.

According to a report published Sunday by the Baltimore Sun, Porter said that Gray- who suffered a severe spinal cord injury while being transported in a police van- did ask for medical help. However, he and other officers questioned whether he was in actual distress or trying to convince officers to take him to the hospital instead of jail.

Prosecutors had called for Porter to go on trial first so that he can testify in the cases against the van's driver, Officer Caesar Goodson, and Sergeant Alicia White.

The officers all face charges ranging from second-degree assault to second-degree murder.

Gray was seized on a Baltimore street on April 12, under circumstances that are in dispute. Some police officers have said he was carrying a knife, but prosecutors say there was no legal basis for taking him into custody. The 25-year-old man died in a hospital a week later of a spinal-cord injury suffered while he was handcuffed and restrained inside a police vehicle.

His death sparked long-simmering tensions between Baltimore police and poor neighborhoods in the largely black city -- culminating in rioting and looting that left hundreds of businesses damaged and resulted in a citywide curfew.

Earlier this month, Baltimore city officials approved a $6.4 million payment to settle a wrongful-death claim by Gray's family.

Some material for this report came from AP and Reuters.

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