Officer William Porter is expected in Baltimore courtroom Monday to begin his trial for charges stemming from the arrest and death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while in police custody.
Despite pleas from the defense to move the high-profile trial out of the city, the case will be heard in Baltimore, and Officer Porter's fate will be decided by residents of the city.
Seven months ago Officer Porter was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office. He has entered a plea of not guilty, as have all the other officers charged in the case.
The first few days of the trial will focus on selecting a jury. It's a task which could prove challenging in a city that has been rocked by the controversy surrounding Gray's death.
Gray suffered a severe spinal injury while in police custody on April 12 and died a week later. His death sparked protests and unrest across Baltimore.
The defense has argued that it will be impossible to find an impartial jury in Baltimore because of the media scrutiny, riots and demonstrations in the city following Gray's death, but Judge Barry Williams has refused to move the trial. The request for a venue change is fairly standard, especially for defense attorneys in high-profile cases, but judges rarely grant such requests. The prosecution argued that the jury selection process is designed to weed out biased jurors.
It is difficult to predict the effect this first trial will have on the city, much less, the subsequent five trials. And it remains likely that defense attorneys will request a change of venue after each trial, especially if demonstrations and riots occur in response to the jury's decision.
Jury selection could take several days. Once the jury is seated, the judge has ruled that the jurors will remain anonymous, but they will not be sequestered during their jury service.
The city of Baltimore has approved a $6.4 million civil settlement for Gray's family but emphasized the settlement did not admit liability on the part of the city or the police department.
Once the jury is seated and the trial gets underway, Officer Porter is expected to take the stand in his own defense. If convicted, he could face a sentence of at least 10 years in prison.