Updated: Jury Selection Begins for Officer Charged in Gray's Dea - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Jury Selection Begins for Officer Charged in Gray's Death

Posted: Updated:

BALTIMORE (AP)- Jury selection for the first police officer to go to trial in Freddie Gray' s death began Monday with a judge questioning potential jurors about their knowledge of the explosive case, which led to widespread protests and rioting and added fuel to the Black Lives Matter movement.
    
Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams conducted initial questioning in a courtroom but planned to interview 66 prospective jurors in a private conference room - an indication of how difficult the selection process could be for the high-profile trial.
    
William Porter is one of six officers charged in the death of Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of a severe spinal injury he suffered while in police custody.
    
Porter, who is also black, is accused of failing to get medical help for Gray during several stops made by the police van that carried Gray on a 45-minute trip. At the end, officers found Gray unresponsive. He was taken to a hospital and died a week later, on April 19.
    
The officer is being tried first in part because prosecutors want to use him as a witness in the trials of several other officers. He is charged with manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
    
The judge asked 75 potential jurors on Monday whether anyone had not heard about the case, the citywide curfew imposed after Gray's death or the settlement paid to his family. No one responded.
    
Twelve jurors said they had family members in law enforcement. Thirty-seven 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 Porter.
    
Williams read aloud more than 200 names of possible witnesses that included more than 100 Baltimore police officers, lawyers and prosecutors.
    
A small group of protesters gathered outside the courtroom. Their chants of "All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray," could be heard throughout the proceedings.
    
A verdict is likely to set the tone for the city. If Porter is acquitted, there could be protests and possibly more unrest. A conviction could send shockwaves through the city's troubled police department.
    
"Everything is at stake. The future of the city is at stake," Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has said.
    
The judge said he expects the trial to wrap up by Dec. 17.
    
Two other officers are black and the three additional officers are white. They will be tried separately beginning in January. Their trials are expected to last until the spring.
    
For several days after Gray died, the demonstrations were mostly peaceful. But on the day he was buried, looting and rioting started, and businesses were burned down. The unrest resulted in millions of dollars in property damage.
    
The turmoil forced an incumbent mayor to drop out of a re-election campaign and toppled the career of a reform-minded police chief who was unceremoniously fired. The homicide rate soared, and the blood continues to spill on Baltimore's streets at a pace unseen in decades.
    
Davis stepped in as police chief in July, after a crime spike that saw 45 homicides in a single month.
    
Gray was initially handcuffed. Later during his van ride, his legs were shackled and he was placed back in the van without a seatbelt, a violation of department policy, prosecutors have said.
    
Porter told police investigators that arresting Gray "was always a big scene," according to a pretrial filing by defense attorneys. Porter indicated that he knew of a previous arrest in which Gray allegedly tried to kick out windows of a police vehicle.
    
"You know, so he was always, always, like, banging around," Porter said in the statement excerpted in the filing. "It was always a big scene whenever you attempted to arrest Freddie Gray."
    
Defense attorneys say that helps explain Porter's actions during Gray's arrest.
    
An independent review of the police response revealed "major shortcomings," and painted a portrait of an overwhelmed and under-prepared department that made tactical errors and endangered officers.
    
Hours before Police Commissioner Anthony Batts was fired in July, the police union issued its own scathing report. Its president called for Batts to "step up."
    
The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a probe into the department stemming from allegations that officers hassled people and used excessive force.
    
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday that Maryland has been preparing for any disturbances related to the trials ever since he called in the National Guard to help restore order in April. He said his administration's security team has been meeting on an almost on a weekly basis.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • People of Cambridge Move on From Segregated Past

    People of Cambridge Move on From Segregated Past

    07/24/2017 16:05:00 -04:002017-07-24 20:05:00 GMT
    Monday, July 24 2017 4:13 PM EDT2017-07-24 20:13:11 GMT
    Fifty years ago, civil unrest in Cambridge reached a boiling point. Now fifty years later, people say they are ready to reflect on those times and to move forward.More
    Fifty years ago, civil unrest in Cambridge reached a boiling point. Now fifty years later, people say they are ready to reflect on those times and to move forward.More
  • Assateague Horse Died After Eating Dog Food

    Assateague Horse Died After Eating Dog Food

    07/24/2017 15:45:00 -04:002017-07-24 19:45:00 GMT
    Monday, July 24 2017 3:57 PM EDT2017-07-24 19:57:23 GMT
    A photo of the mare that died after eating dog food at Assateague Island National Seashore. (Photo credit: L. Davis/Assateague Island National Seashore)A photo of the mare that died after eating dog food at Assateague Island National Seashore. (Photo credit: L. Davis/Assateague Island National Seashore)
    Officials say a wild horse was found dead after eating a large amount of dog food at Assateague Island National Seashore.More
    Officials say a wild horse was found dead after eating a large amount of dog food at Assateague Island National Seashore.More
  • Queen Anne's County Fire Causes Over $200,000 in Damages

    Queen Anne's County Fire Causes Over $200,000 in Damages

    07/24/2017 15:53:00 -04:002017-07-24 19:53:00 GMT
    Monday, July 24 2017 3:53 PM EDT2017-07-24 19:53:59 GMT
    courtesy of Maryland State Fire Marshal's Officecourtesy of Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office
    A fire in Queen Anne's County took 26 firefighters and nearly two hours to put out on Sunday morning, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal.More
    A fire in Queen Anne's County took 26 firefighters and nearly two hours to put out on Sunday morning, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Updated: Queen Anne's County Tornado Confirmed

    Damage, Power Outages Reported After Maryland Severe Weather

    07/24/2017 07:59:00 -04:002017-07-24 11:59:00 GMT
    Monday, July 24 2017 3:29 PM EDT2017-07-24 19:29:58 GMT
    A large tree fell on this house in Stevensville, Md. during an overnight severe storm that passed through the area. (Photo:  Frank Tedesco/ Atlantic City Electric)A large tree fell on this house in Stevensville, Md. during an overnight severe storm that passed through the area. (Photo: Frank Tedesco/ Atlantic City Electric)
    A National Weather Service team has confirmed an EF2 tornado touched down in Queen Anne's County on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The tornado downed trees, damaged homes, and knocked out power out for thousands.More
    A National Weather Service team has confirmed an EF2 tornado touched down in Queen Anne's County on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The overnight weather event downed trees, damaged homes, and knocked out power out for thousands.More
  • ATV Driver Hit By Crop Duster in Berlin

    ATV Driver Hit By Crop Duster in Berlin

    Monday, July 24 2017 7:49 AM EDT2017-07-24 11:49:02 GMT
    Monday, July 24 2017 7:49 AM EDT2017-07-24 11:49:02 GMT
    (Photo:MGN)(Photo:MGN)
    An ATV driver suffered minor injuries after a crop duster pilot attempted to land at an airfield in Worcester County Sunday morning, Maryland State Police said.More
    An ATV driver suffered minor injuries after a crop duster pilot attempted to land at an airfield in Worcester County Sunday morning, Maryland State Police said.More
  • Man Charged in Deadly Dover Crash

    Deadly Dover Crash

    Monday, July 24 2017 7:49 AM EDT2017-07-24 11:49:14 GMT
    Monday, July 24 2017 7:49 AM EDT2017-07-24 11:49:14 GMT
    The crash happened on McKee Road near Seskinore Court in Dover.The crash happened on McKee Road near Seskinore Court in Dover.
    A 23-year-old Dover man has been charged with vehicular homicide following the death of 62-year-old Derik Percorini of Dover, police said.More
    A 23-year-old Dover man has been charged with vehicular homicide following the death of 62-year-old Derik Percorini of Dover, police said.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Damage, Power Outages Reported in Queen Anne's Co. After Severe Weather

    Damage, Power Outages Reported in Queen Anne's Co. After Severe Weather

    A National Weather Service team is headed to Maryland's Eastern Shore to determine whether a tornado touched down there.

    The weather service says the team is headed to Queen Anne's County on Monday to assess damage from the early morning storm that downed trees, collapsed buildings and knocked out power to thousands overnight in the Stevensville area of Kent Island. County officials say one person was injured but those injuries were not life-threatening.

    More

    A National Weather Service team is headed to Maryland's Eastern Shore to determine whether a tornado touched down there.

    The weather service says the team is headed to Queen Anne's County on Monday to assess damage from the early morning storm that downed trees, collapsed buildings and knocked out power to thousands overnight in the Stevensville area of Kent Island. County officials say one person was injured but those injuries were not life-threatening.

    More
  • WBOC Morning Weather for Monday, July 24, 2017

    WBOC Morning Weather for Monday, July 24, 2017

  • Sussex Man Convicted of Murder Granted Parole, Victim's Mother Speaks

    Sussex Man Convicted of Murder Granted Parole, Victim's Mother Speaks

    A Sussex County man convicted of murder 30 years ago has been granted parole.

    Back in 1987, deer hunters found the body of 18-year-old Douglas Brockway Jr. in a wooded area outside of Lewes. Ransford Bryan III was later charged in the murder and convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

    More

    A Sussex County man convicted of murder 30 years ago has been granted parole.

    Back in 1987, deer hunters found the body of 18-year-old Douglas Brockway Jr. in a wooded area outside of Lewes. Ransford Bryan III was later charged in the murder and convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices