March 16, 2016 / 8:02 PM / 3 years ago

Baltimore judge sets trials for police in Freddie Gray death case

Protestors gathers near the steps of the courthouse, where jury selection takes place for the case of Officer Caesar Goodson, in Baltimore, Maryland, January 11, 2016. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - The trials of six Baltimore police officers charged in connection with Freddie Gray’s death last year will resume in May, more than a year after the black detainee died in police custody, a city judge ruled on Wednesday.

Gray’s April 2015 death from a broken neck suffered while in the back of a police van came amid a string of police killings of black men across the United States and set off a day of rioting and arson in the majority black city.

Less than a week after that violence, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby filed charges ranging from assault to second-degree depraved heart murder against the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest.

All the officers have denied wrongdoing. One has stood trial so far: Officer William Porter, who testified during his December manslaughter trial that he alerted his superior, Sergeant Alicia White, that Gray needed medical attention.

Porter’s trial ended in a hung jury, throwing off Mosby’s aggressive schedule for prosecuting the officers as Porter’s lawyers argued he should not be forced to testify against his fellow officers while awaiting a new trial. Maryland’s top court rejected that argument last week, saying Porter must testify at the other five trials.

The new schedule set on Wednesday calls for Officer Edward Nero, one of the officers who initially arrested Gray, to stand trial beginning on May 10. Following that will be the trials of Officer Caesar Goodson, who drove the police van, beginning June 6; Lieutenant Brian Rice, beginning July 5; Officer Garrett Miller, beginning July 27; with Porter’s retrial set to begin on Sept. 6 and White’s to start on Oct. 13.

The officers were not in court on Wednesday.

Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney

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