[JURIST] Baltimore City Circuit Judge Barry Williams on Wednesday rejected motions to drop charges against six police officers implicated in the case of Freddie Gray, a black man who was injured in police custody and later died in April. The charges [JURIST report] against the officers range from second-degree murder and manslaughter to second-degree assault and misconduct. The legal proceedings are set to continue with a pretrial hearing scheduled for September 10, determining whether the case should be moved outside of Baltimore due to the high levels of publicity surrounding the events.
Police use of force has been a controversial issue across the US recently. Earlier this year Judge Edgar Dickson of the South Carolina Circuit Court declared a mistrial [JURIST report] in the murder case against a former police chief for the 2011 killing of an unarmed black man. After a grand jury decided not to indict [JURIST report] the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who shot and killed Micheal Brown [USA Today Timeline], an African American teenager, there was a large uproar from the Ferguson community that led to mass protests and violence in some instances. The case had reached international news with Amnesty International reporting [JURIST report] human rights abuses by Ferguson Police in late October. In early October a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] that the police tactics used on protesters was unconstitutional and issued a preliminary injunction. The American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website] also published a report [JURIST report] arguing that increased militarization of police forces is putting citizens at risk rather than protecting them.