A Baltimore judge has selected a majority Black jury to decide the fate of William Porter, the first police officer on trial for the April death of Freddie Gray.
Court officials announced earlier today that the 12-person jury would be made up of eight African-Americans, five of whom are women. Three White women were also selected to serve.
The composition of the jury is representative of the racial make-up of the city, which is 63 percent Black. During Monday’s jury selection, more than half of the 75 potential jurors told presiding Judge Barry Williams that either they or a member of their immediate family had been either a victim of a crime or investigated, charged or incarcerated in the past.
Porter, 26, has been charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office in Gray’s death. Gray suffered a severed spinal after Baltimore police officers failed to secure him in a police van.
During today’s opening arguments, prosecutors say that Porter, who is Black, had multiple opportunities to securely buckle Gray into the vehicle . At one point, prosecutors say, he checked on Gray and saw that he was unresponsive, but he opted not to call for paramedics until the van arrived at the police station.
“There was no reason not to put him in a seat belt, unless you simply didn’t care,” Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow said during today’s statements.
The trial dates for the remaining five officers have been set for 2016.