After months of sharply worded motions by prosecutors and defense attorneys, legal questions surrounding the officers charged in Freddie Gray's arrest and death will be aired publicly for the first time Wednesday in a solemn, wood-paneled courtroom in downtown Baltimore.
Six police officers stand accused in the case, which has captured the nation's attention due to the protests and rioting that followed Gray's death. The officers are not expected to appear at the hearing, which will focus on legal challenges to the charges. Defense attorneys are seeking to dismiss the case, or to remove Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby from the prosecution. Prosecutors, who have called the defense claims baseless, will press Circuit Judge Barry Williams to move the proceedings forward. Both sides will debate whether the officers should be tried together or separately, the Baltimore Sun reports.
As the hearing nears, court officials have set rules to maintain order, just as police and city officials have made plans to handle any protests or unrest. A "Security/Media Protocol Order" from the Circuit Court's administrative judge outlined heightened security at the courthouse, specific restrictions on members of the news media and expected courtroom decorum. The Baltimore sheriff's office, meanwhile, plans to ensure order with "an increased presence" of deputies inside and outside Courtroom 234, a windowless space on the second floor of Courthouse East.