The first Baltimore police officer goes on trial on Monday in the April alleged murder of Freddie Gray. Jury selection is set to begin in the case of Gray who died while in police custody.
On Monday, jury selection for the first of six Baltimore police officers charged with the death of a man while being in police custody will begin. The city of Baltimore is bracing for riots in this most controversial and polarizing case. Earlier in April, a young black man, Freddie Gray, 25, died while in police custody. His death sparked enormous riots in the city from which they have yet to fully recover.
The new wounds will begin to open as the first police officer goes on trial, according to Reuters. Baltimore police officer William Porter, 26, will be the first to go on trial in Gray’s death. Gray died of his injuries while in police custody. Gray died of spine injuries suffered in the back of a police van after being arrested for running away from a police officer. Porter is charged with second degree assault and manslaughter.
Porter could face 25 years in prison if he is convicted. Porter, who is black, is accused of not securing a seat belt on Gray and for ignoring Gray’s pleas of being in pain and in need of immediate medical help. Porter’s trial begins only days after violent protests have gripped Chicago after the release of a dashboard camera video of a Chicago police officer shooting a 17 year old black teenager 16 times.
Following the death of Gray, Baltimore erupted in riots and violence that was not finally stopped until the National Guard was called in to quell the violence and the chaos. The Gray death occurred shortly after the riots and protests in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of another black man at the hands of the police.
The judge informed the potential jurors that the trial would be over before Christmas Day and that opening arguments would be heard this week. The charges against the six Baltimore police officers run from misconduct all the way up to second degree murder. Baltimore has already settled a civil lawsuit with Gray’s family for $6.4 million.