Police in riot gear line up with military rescue vehicle while local citizens pushed the limit of the 10 p.m. curfew in Baltimore, Maryland on April 28. Defense attorneys for the six officers charged for the death of Freddie Gray asked for a change in venue considering the widespread impact unrest had on the city. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo
BALTIMORE, May 27 (UPI) -- Lawyers for the six former Baltimore police officers charged for the death of Freddie Gray have asked for a change of venue.
The motion, filed Wednesday, says the officers "cannot receive a far and impartial trial in Baltimore City."
The defense attorneys for officers Caesar Goodson Jr., Garrett Miller, Edward Nero, William Porter, Brian Rice and Alicia White says "a presumption of prejudice exists" because of the attention paid to the protests throughout the city after Gray's death April 19.
"Consequently, each and every citizen of Baltimore City was left with an indelible imprint of the Freddie Gray case as a result of these events," the motion read.
Weeks of protests broke out in Baltimore after Gray's death, with things turning violent particularly on the night of April 27, when Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard.
The six officers involved with the arrest and transportation of Gray on the day he sustained a fatal injury to his spine were arrested and charged with a variety of offenses ranging from second-degree depraved heart murder to reckless endangerment.
The motion filed Wednesday argued that a celebratory mood overtook Baltimore after State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced charges against the officers, also impacting the potential pool of jurors.
"Defendants cannot receive fair and impartial trial(s) in this matter due to the extensive and prejudicial publicity, civil unrest, public comments made by elected officials, public demonstrations, rioting, looting, fires, curfew restrictions, disruption to the infrastructures of business, transportation, education, courts and medical facilities, arrests made as a result of the unrest, widespread prejudicial social media reporting, and the occupation of Baltimore City by outside agencies -- including the Maryland National Guard," the motion read.
Goodson, Jr. was indicted on charges of second-degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, gross negligence manslaughter by vehicle, criminal negligence manslaughter by vehicle, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. Goodson faces the most serious punishment of 30 years in prison, if convicted, for the murder charge.
Porter and White were each indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
Rice was indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
Nero and Miller were each indicted on charges of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.