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City on edge as Baltimore officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death head to court

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(CNN) — Six Baltimore police officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death are due in court Wednesday, September 2, 2015, as the city braces for what could happen afterward.

The pretrial hearing comes almost five months after Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury while being transported in a police van.

“Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the (Baltimore Police Department) wagon,” Marilyn Mosby, the state’s attorney for the city of Baltimore, said in announcing the charges.

The six officers face charges ranging from false imprisonment to involuntary manslaughter. All six have pleaded not guilty.

And the case could get more complicated, as attorneys representing the officers have called for Mosby to drop the charges — or at least recuse herself. They say Mosby’s office had issued orders for police to crack down on the area where Gray was arrested.

The trial of the “Freddie Gray Six” is scheduled to begin in October. On Wednesday, the officers’ attorneys will seek a ruling on the pretrial motions they have filed.

Several things could happen during the pretrial hearing, including:

• Mosby’s office could be recused.

• The case could be dismissed for prosecutorial misconduct.

• The court could discuss how and whether the officers will be tried, together or separately.

City on alert

Activists were planning protests at the Baltimore City Circuit Court’s east courthouse, situated behind City Hall, and elsewhere on Wednesday. About an hour before the hearing, some people had gathered outside the courthouse, holding yellow signs calling for justice in Gray’s case.

“Freddie Gray didn’t have to die!” demonstrators shouted.

Baltimore police hope demonstrations will stay peaceful but are taking precautions in case they don’t.

The police department has canceled leave for officers on Wednesday in case violence breaks out.

“We would rather err on the side of caution and have an abundance of people readily available as needed,” Lt. Sarah Connolly said. “We are hoping we don’t need them.”

After Gray’s funeral in April, Baltimore descended into chaos as buildings went up in flames and local businesses were devastated by vandalism and looting.

It was the exact opposite of what Gray’s family had asked for.

“I want y’all to get justice for my son,” Gray’s mother said at the time. “But don’t do it like this here.”

Officers and charges

These are the six officers and their charges:

Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr. is charged with one count of second-degree depraved-heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence), manslaughter by vehicle (criminal negligence) and misconduct in office.

Officer Garrett E. Miller is charged with two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and one count of false imprisonment.

Officer Edward M. Nero with two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and one count of false imprisonment.

Officer William G. Porter is charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Lt. Brian W. Rice is charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and one count of false imprisonment.

Sgt. Alicia D. White is charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

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