Prosecutors are fighting to keep jurors in the Freddie Gray case from being sequestered during the trial of one of the Baltimore police officers accused in connection with Gray's death.
The case of one of those officers, William G. Porter, is scheduled to begin at the end of this month. Porter is accused of assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment in Gray’s August 12 death, which sparked protests and unrest across Baltimore.
Porter's attorneys have argued that jurors in his case should be sequestered, kept in a hotel with no access to cell phones and limited access to TV, WBAL reported. The defense also asked that any interaction that jurors have with their family and friends be monitored by sheriff's deputies.
Prosecutors fired back that the rules would turn jurors into prisoners of the Baltimore Circuit Court, which is hearing the case against the officers accused in Gray's death.
Prosecutors say those rules would make it more difficult to find jurors. Sequestering "would fail to increase the likelihood of a fair trial, but would succeed in making jury service so unnecessarily burdensome and frightening that few would not seek to avoid it," according to WBAL.
Freddie Gray, 25, died April 12 after he had been placed into a van by Baltimore police, who had found a switchblade in his pocket after he fled from patrolling officers.
Six officers have been charged in the case, and their cases are being tried separately. An attorney hired by the city's police union has said, speaking for all the officers charged, that the officers did not nothing wrong and that charges were brought in a rush to judgment.
In addition to Porter, the officers and charges are:
Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr.: second-degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence), manslaughter by vehicle (criminal negligence), misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
Officer Garrett E. Miller: two counts of second degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office; and reckless endangerment.
Officer Edward M. Nero: two counts of second degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
Lt. Brian W. Rice: involuntary manslaughter, two counts of second degree assault, manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence); two counts of misconduct in office; and reckless endangerment.
Sgt. Alicia D. White: involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault, misconduct and reckless endangerment.