The Latest: Baltimore says it's ready for 2nd Gray hearing
The Associated Press
Sep. 09, 2015
BALTIMORE (AP) — The latest on the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died after being injured while in the custody of Baltimore police.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis held a news conference to talk about the city's preparations for the second pretrial hearing in the Freddie Gray case.
A judge will hear arguments Thursday by attorneys for the six police officers charged in Gray's arrest and death to consider moving the trials out of Baltimore.
City leaders said they wanted to emphasize to citizens and business owners that regardless of the outcome, the city is prepared.
Davis noted police earlier canceled leave for all officers as a precaution, in order to have all hands on deck if needed. Police took this step before the first hearing on Sept. 2, canceling time off for both dates.
He said police would have a "soft" presence Thursday. He said the police department has the staffing and the riot gear if and when they're needed.
The attorney for the family of Freddie Gray is applauding the Baltimore mayor for helping spearhead a $6.4 million settlement with the family after Gray was fatally injured in police custody.
Attorney Billy Murphy said Wednesday that if a lawsuit had been filed, it could have taken years to play out in the courts. He says the settlement is civil justice for the Gray family.
Murphy also says the mayor has pledged to start a pilot program where police in the Western District neighborhood, where Gray was arrested, will wear body cameras. He says the cameras will help drastically reduce police misconduct as well as frivolous complaints from citizens.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the Western District will be the first in Baltimore to try body cameras.
The mayor earlier had promised to start a body-camera pilot program by the end of the year. On Wednesday, she pledged a two-month test "as soon as possible" in the Western District. Murphy believes it may begin next month.
Baltimore's mayor says the $6.4 million settlement between the city and the family in the death of Freddie Gray is meant to bring closure and avoid years of protracted litigation.
On Wednesday morning, shortly after the approval of the settlement was announced, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said, "I again want to extend my most sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Freddie Gray ... I hope that this settlement will bring some measure of closure to his family and to his friends."
Rawlings-Blake also acknowledged that a settlement before criminal proceedings is unusual but said it's in the best interest of protecting taxpayers. She said negotiations lasted for months.
Gray was a 25-year-old black man who died a week after he was critically injured while in police custody.
The Baltimore city board has unanimously approved a $6.4 million settlement between the city and the family of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died a week after he was critically injured while in police custody.
The approval came Wednesday morning, just a day before Judge Barry Williams will decide whether the trials for six officers charged in Gray's death should be moved to a different jurisdiction. Defense attorneys have asked for a change of venue, citing pre-trial publicity and concern that the officers won't get fair trials if they're tried in Baltimore.
The settlement appears to be among the largest such payments in police death cases in recent years.