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Protests in Baltimore over Freddie Gray

Source: Anadolu Agency / Getty

Baltimore Police Officer William Porter will face a jury in the first trial regarding the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man whose death from injuries he suffered in police custody triggered protests and rioting, and helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement.  Court spokeswoman Terri Charles said Tuesday twelve jurors and several alternates were to be seated Wednesday in Baltimore Circuit Court, following two days of preliminary screening.

She also said lawyers may make opening statements Wednesday.  Porter, who is also black, is among six officers charged in the case.

Porter has pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. Prosecutors say he failed to render aid to Gray, who repeatedly asked for medical attention.

If convicted the charges carry maximum prison terms totaling 25 years.  The jury selection process has been relatively quick in light of defense assertions in pretrial proceedings that it would be impossible to seat an impartial panel.

Judge Barry Williams has repeatedly denied defense motions to move the trial out of Baltimore.  On Monday and Tuesday Williams questioned 150 jurors, mostly out of public view, in an efficient process designed to shield their identities.


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