Officers file motions to dismiss case in black man's death
BALTIMORE (AP) -- Three officers poised to stand trial in the case of a 25-year-old black man who died after his neck was broken in police custody are asking for their cases to be dismissed.
Sgt. Alicia White and Officer Garrett Miller filed motions to dismiss their cases on Monday, citing defects in the prosecution's case. The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday that Lt. Brian Rice had also filed a similar motion, but that motion was not publicly available. Rice is the highest-ranking officer charged in the case. He also is asking prosecutors to disclose grand jury minutes and testimony.
The officers are each facing identical charges of manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office in the case of Freddie Gray, who died on April 19, 2015, a week after suffering a critical spinal injury in the back of a police transport wagon. Gray's death last year sparked protests and civil unrest that resulted in looting, rioting and millions of dollars in property damage.
Two other officers charged in the case, including Caesar Goodson, the wagon driver who faced a second-degree murder charge, have been acquitted in the past month. The trial for a third officer, William Porter, ended in a mistrial in December. He's schedule for retrial in September.
White and Miller's attorneys argued in the motions that their clients' cases should be dismissed because of two recent disclosures, including an affidavit from a sheriff's department major who wrote that he signed off on prosecutors' charges without having any knowledge of their basis or details of their investigation. The second involved notes from a police detective who wrote that prosecutors presented her with a typed script to read in front of the Grand Jury.
The detective, Dawnyell Taylor, testified at Goodson's trial that she didn't trust one of the prosecutors on the case, while the other prosecutor, Michael Schatzow, said while questioning her that he tried to have Taylor removed from the investigation because he believed she was sabotaging it.
Taylor's testimony came on the heels of revelations that prosecutors had withheld key information from the defense in the Goodson case. Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams admonished the state for its error, and said if prosecutors failed to disclose any more exculpatory information they would be sanctioned.
Rice is the next officer to be tried. His trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday.