Judge Overrules Defense Attorneys’ Claim that Baltimore Officers Were Tricked into Giving Statements
A Baltimore judge has ruled that statements made during an initial investigation into the six police officers charged in the Freddie Gray case are admissible in court, according to The Guardian.
The ruling was made by Baltimore city circuit court judge Barry Williams on Tuesday. He ruled Sgt. Alicia White and Officer William G. Porter had not been compelled to give statements to a team of internal police investigators.
CBS Baltimore reported White’s defense attorney had argued her statement be ruled inadmissible because the investigators had not read her Miranda rights and tricked her into making a statement. Deputy state’s attorney Janet Bledsoe produced a video of White signing away her Miranda rights and rights under the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. Williams ruled White’s statements would be allowed to stand.
The Guardian reported Lt. Brian Rice and Officers Garrett Miller and Edward Nero also agreed to drop motions to suppress their statements.
“At the end of the day, Judge Williams determined that these statements were given voluntarily free of any coercion or duress,” said Warren Alperstein, a legal analyst with CBS Baltimore.
Williams also ordered counsel to avoid discussing the case with anyone who was not fellow counsel or their clients, and ordered the prosecution to provide the defense with all evidence by Oct. 28. The six Baltimore officers, who all appeared in court Tuesday, are facing a host of charges, including murder, manslaughter and reckless endangerment, for the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old local man who died from injuries sustained in a police van.
Gray was arrested and placed in a police van without being secured. The van was driven at high speeds and made sudden stops in a procedure known as “rough riding.” The medical examiner’s report found Gray’s spine was 80 percent severed from the van ride. He fell into a coma and failed to regain consciousness.
Gray’s death led to widespread protests and rioting which was only quelled by the National Guard. The city of Baltimore recently agreed to pay the Gray family a $6.4 million settlement. The “Baltimore Six” are going to be tried individually with the first trial scheduled for Nov. 20.
Defense attorneys had previously argued for a change of venue, claiming that they could not find an impartial jury in Baltimore, but Judge Williams also ruled against this motion.