Baltimore Protester Arrested At Freddie Gray Court Hearing

Above: Protesters outside Baltimore circuit court on Wednesday. Mackenzie McDonald-Wilkins (l) and Kevin Zeese (r) of Popular Resistance holding signs. Photograph: Lloyd Fox/AP

No Charges Dismissed, Prosector Mosby Not Removed, Separate Trial for Each Cop, Decision on Change of Venue Put Off Until September

Note: Today was the first pre-trial hearing in the Freddie Gray murder trial. Judge Barry Glenn Williams denied a motion to dismiss the charges and ruled that State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby does not have to recuse herself from the case. These were two of the three demands of the protesters seeking justice for Freddie Gray. The third demand is the critical issue of whether there will be a change of venue. That issue will not be heard until September 10th. Later in the afternoon, after a separate hearing the judge ordered six separate trials for each of the officers. 

Freddie Gray protest at pre-trial hearing, arrest, not taser in back by Margaret Flowers

Kwame Rose being handcuffed while a taser is held to his back. Photo by Margaret Flowers.

Members of Popular Resistance, Margaret Flowers, Kevin Zeese and Mackenzie McDonald-Wilkins, joined with dozens of protesters outside the courthouse who later marched through the streets of downtown Baltimore.

The protests briefly shut down intersections and all was going smoothly until the police arrested one person who was trying to lead the group back to the courthouse.

The person arrested, Kwame Rose, said he was hit by a car and injured. Margart Flowers, MD sought to examine him but the police refused. Police handcuffed him while holding a taser to his back. Protesters demanded an ambulance as they were putting him into a police arrest wagon. The police decided to call a medic and he was put into an ambulance.

There will be another protest tonight at 6:30 PM beginning at the courthouse. 

Dozens of protesters gather at hearing for six Baltimore officers charged over the death of Gray, who died after suffering a spinal injury in custody in April

Police arrested one protester on Wednesday morning, as a crowd gathered outside the first court hearing since six Baltimore police officers were criminally charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Gray was an African American man who died in April, a week after suffering a critical spinal injury in custody. His death led to protests and a riot that prompted the deployment of the national guard and the mayor to declare a city-wide curfew.

On Wednesday at the Baltimore circuit court, prosecutors and defense attorneys were set to present arguments on three key issues: whether state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby, who became a national figure when she announced charges against the officers, should recuse herself; whether the officers should be tried together or separately; and whether the charges should be dismissed.

[In video above Mackenzie McDonald-Wilkins, Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers can all be seen at the front lines with the police as they attempt to push the crowd back from the arrest scene.]

The officers face charges that range from second-degree assault, a misdemeanor, to second-degree “depraved-heart” murder. On Wednesday, dozens of sheriff’s deputies were patrolling the streets. Up to 75 protesters assembled outside the court, carrying yellow signs with slogans including “Stop racism now” and “Indict, convict, jail”. One banner read: “Justice 4 Freddie Carlos Gray”. The protesters chanted “Tell the truth and stop the lies, Freddie Gray didn’t have to die” and “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell”. Protesters briefly stopped traffic near the city’s Inner Harbor neighborhood, near the courthouse, reporters on the scene and local news outlets reported before 10am. Police arrested one protester, a statement said.

Some reported that the protester arrested had been struck by a car and injured, but that was debated widely on social media and could not be independently confirmed by the Guardian. An ambulance was eventually called for the man. As he sat on the back of a police van waiting for medical technicians, protesters chanted: “Take off the cuffs”.

One protester, Lee Paterson, said he remained concerned charges could be dropped.

He also said: “You know, this whole thing is bigger than Freddie Gray. It’s about poverty.”