A Baltimore judge has ruled that statements made by two of the six officers in the Freddy Gray case will be admissible in court. This is good for prosecutors as the evidence will be used to show how Gray was treated in police custody.
Freddy Gray, 25, was arrested in April and sustained a severe spinal cord injury while in custody. He died from the injuries a week later. His death sparked outrage in Baltimore. Looting and violence intensified to the point that the city declared a state of emergency.
In a pretrial hearing on Tuesday, Judge Barry Williams decided that police statements made by Sgt. Alicia D. White and Officer William G. Porter should be allowed in the court, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Defense attorneys asked that Judge Williams not allow the statements in court because they claim that the officers did not voluntarily speak to investigators and were not presented their rights prior to the interview. One of White’s attorneys, Ivan Bates, said that investigators had made White think she was a witness when she was actually a suspect, essentially tricking her into giving her statement.
Prosecutors claim that the statements were appropriately obtained. Judge Williams stated that he did not see evidence of coercion of either White or Porter
Sergeant White had the opportunity to say no.
Deputy State’s Arrorney Janice Bledsoe also believes that White’s interview was obtained legally. She says that a police sergeant would be aware of her rights and know she could refuse to conduct an interview with detectives. White’s signature is also on a paper stating that she understood and was waiving her rights.
It’s clear Sergeant White waived all of her rights.
The Washinton Post reports that Judge Williams intends to issue a written gag order and has told the attorneys to not discuss the case with anyone other than their clients and legal team.
Do not discuss my ruling and do not discuss this case.
Tuesday’s hearing also provided a glimpse of what to expect from Judge Williams during the trial. His style is no-nonsense as he threatened contempt and even yelled at the court to be quiet during a witness’ testimony.