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Attorneys representing six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray filed a motion on Wednesday to have the case moved out of the city, arguing the passions surrounding the case make it impossible for their clients to receive a fair trial.
"Every citizen of Baltimore was impacted by the events surrounding the arrest and death of Freddie Gray and every potential juror would bring their passions and prejudices relating to the events with them to the courtroom," the lawyers wrote in a motion filed in Circuit Court for Baltimore City.
A grand jury in Baltimore on May 21 indicted the officers, Caesar Goodson Jr., William Porter, Brian Rice, Edward Nero, Garrett Miller and Alicia White.
The death of Gray from a spinal cord injury on April 19, a week after he was arrested following a foot chase, sparked protests and riots, and the National Guard was called in to enforce a mandatory curfew amid the violence.
The motion for a change of venue argues that statements made by the prosecutor in the case, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and police officials who admitted mistakes were made in the way Gray was arrested and treated have prejudiced potential jurors.
The motion also argues that the mayor's request for a Department of Justice investigation into policing practices in Baltimore — which the DOJ has launched — has "blurred the line between the defendants and the police department as a whole."
Attorneys for the six officers have previously accused Mosby of rushing to judgment in filing charges so quickly amid a backdrop of social unrest, and have asked that she recuse herself from the case. Mosby could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
Goodson, who drove the police van, is charged with second-degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter and other charges. Porter, Rice, and White are charged with involuntary manslaughter and other charges. Nero and Miller face charges that include second-degree assault.