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Baltimore judge: charges against police in Gray case can proceed

baltimorepoliceBALTIMORE--A judge on Wednesday rejected defense motions to drop charges against six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of a black man from an injury in custody and ordered separate trials in the high-profile case.
  Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams also rejected a defense motion calling for State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby and her office to recuse themselves from the Freddie Gray case.
  The death of Gray, 25, drew worldwide attention when it triggered protests and a day of rioting, arson and looting. The case became part of a national debate on police treatment of minorities in the United States.
  Security at the downtown courthouse was enhanced for the hearing and protesters rallied outside, decrying what they called militarization of police. One person was arrested.
  Williams rejected the defense contention that Mosby violated her obligation to assure a fair trial when she announced the charges at a news conference as the largely black city of 620,000 people was in turmoil. Williams said that point would best be settled in a misconduct proceeding, not in his courtroom. He said Mosby's comments did not warrant dropping charges.
  "The motion is hereby dismissed," he said before a courtroom nearly filled with reporters, lawyers and spectators. Mosby sat behind the prosecution table but did not take part in the proceedings.
  Defense arguments that Mosby's comments would prejudice jurors could be raised when a jury is selected, Williams said.
  Gray was arrested on April 12 after a foot chase in crime-ridden West Baltimore. He was bundled into a police transport van while in handcuffs and shackles and was not seat-belted. Gray suffered a severe spinal injury and died a week later.

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