Freddie Gray case: What you need to know about the upcoming trial of Baltimore Police Officer Garrett Miller
The Baltimore Sun|
Jul 27, 2016 | 12:00 AM
The trial of the next Baltimore police officer charged in the Freddie Gray case is set to get under way, with a pretrial motions hearing Wednesday morning in a downtown courtroom.
Officer Garrett Miller, 27, is charged with second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct in office related to the arrest of Gray, a 25-year-old man who died a week after sustaining a severe spinal injury in the back of a transport van.
He will be the fifth officer to stand trial in the case. Prosecutors have yet to secure a conviction, with three officers being acquitted by a judge in bench trials this year and a fourth officer's trial ending with a hung jury and mistrial in December.
Miller, 27, was hired by the Baltimore Police Department in 2012. He was on bicycle patrol on April 12, 2015, when he was called to chase Gray, who ran from officers in the Gilmor Homes area of West Baltimore.
Miller was compelled to testify under limited immunity in the May trial of co-defendant Officer Edward Nero. Because of this, a hearing will be held before trial to determine whether prosecutors took the proper steps to ensure the terms of that immunity agreement — designed to protect Miller's constitutional rights against self-incrimination — have not been violated.
A new team of prosecutors will be trying the case. Assistant State's Attorney Lisa Phelps has been with the state's attorney's office since 1999 and currently leads the training division.
Assistant State's Attorney Sarah David has been with the state's attorney's office since 2014. A prosecutor in the misdemeanor unit, she is a Johns Hopkins University alumnus and has a master's degree in comparative ethnic conflict from Queen's University in Belfast.
Prosecutors could decide to drop one or more charges against Miller. At the start of the last trial, of Lt. Brian Rice, prosecutors dropped one misconduct-in-office charge against him, while the judge dropped an assault charge at the trial's midpoint.
Miller is represented by attorneys Catherine Flynn and Brandon Mead of the law firm of Mead, Flynn & Gray. Flynn is a partner in the firm and has represented clients in a number of high-profile cases, including self-professed serial killer Joseph Metheny, whose death sentence was eventually overturned. She has also represented several police officers charged with crimes in recent years.
Mead is an associate attorney and son of co-partner Margaret Mead. His recent cases include a murder trial in which evidence was suppressed because police used cell site simulator technology, also known as a stingray.
Barry G. Williams has been a Circuit Court judge since 2005, following a career as an assistant city state's attorney and a special litigation counsel with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, a role in which he traveled the country trying federal police misconduct cases.
•Officer William Porter (Sept. 6 retrial): He is charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. His trial last December ended in a hung jury and mistrial
•Sgt. Alicia White (Oct. 13): She is charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.