Protesters say they won a victory today when Judge Barry Williams decided to keep the trials of the six indicted police officers in the Freddie Gray case in the city.
Just before the judge announced his decision, it was a tense scene. About three dozen protesters and the news media were corralled by the sheriff’s department onto the sidewalk in front of the courthouse.
Then the tweets and calls with the judge’s decision to keep the trials in Baltimore started making their way from inside the courthouse to the crowd outside, and the mood immediately changed. The protest became a celebration.
The protesters began to hug each other, and chanted “The trial stays here, the trial stays here.”
The attorneys for the six officers charged argued it would be difficult to find unbiased jurors in the city.
Protesters like Sharon Black feared if the trials were moved outside Baltimore, jurors would not reflect the city’s diversity and would more likely favor the defendants.
Black says, “There was real genuine concern that if they moved the venue, then Freddie Gray and the community at large would not receive justice in this case.”
Tawanda Jones was one of the protesters. For two years she’s been calling for police reform following the death of her brother, Tyrone West. Jones said jurors in Baltimore could be fair. Jones said Freddie Gray died in the city, so the trials should remain in the city.
Jones said, “Because we all know if it gets moved anywhere else, it’s gone, it’s the end.”
Today’s protest differed from last week’s. The protesters marched around the courthouse but there was no attempt to block traffic. The protesters promise to be back when the trials begin.