BALTIMORE - A judge has ruled that the trials for six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died after suffering a critical injury while in custody, will be kept in Baltimore.
The decision Thursday comes just a day after the city formally approved a $6.4 million settlement for Gray's family.
CBS News Justice Reporter Paula Reid reports the defense argued during the hearing Thursday that there has never been a case like this in Baltimore and that every resident has been impacted and that it will be impossible for the officers to get a fair trial. They also argued that the anti-police sentiment is high in the city and that the officers have become poster children for that resentment and will thus be punished just to make a point.
Prosecutors argued that publicity has been equally bad for State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who is prosecuting the case, and that the city is capable of providing an unbiased jury.
Judge Barry Williams ultimately ruled that the officers could get fair trials in Baltimore, despite days of protests, rioting and a week-long city-wide curfew after Gray's death.
Before the hearing began Thursday, several protesters gathered outside the courthouse and one was arrested. After the decision was made, protesters were heard cheering outside.
Gray was a 25-year-old black man who died after being fatally injured while in police custody.
Judge Williams ruled last week that the six officers charged in his death will be tried separately.
Shortly before the hearing began Thursday, deputies appeared outside the courthouse in preparation to curb any violent protests. Some deputies had multiple plastic strips, used as handcuffs, clipped to their vests.
Deputies formed a line and several surrounded one woman with a sign and a knapsack on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse. She had been the first demonstrator on the scene. Her sign said the trials should remain in Baltimore because, "They didn't bother to kill him elsewhere."
After deputies took her into the courthouse, her sign was behind a garbage can by the courthouse door.
On Wednesday, 27-year-old Westley West, a Baltimore pastor, was arrested a week after police say he blocked traffic while protesting during pre-trial hearings in the Gray case. A warrant charges him with attempting to incite a riot, malicious destruction of property, disorderly conduct, disturbance of the peace, false imprisonment and failure to obey.
The officers accused in Gray's death were indicted in May and face charges ranging from second-degree assault to second-degree murder.
Gray died on April 19, a week after he suffered a critical spinal injury in police custody. His death prompted protests and rioting that shook the city and caused millions of dollars in damage, and has since come to symbolize the broken relationship between the police and the public in Baltimore, and the treatment of black men by police in America.
All six officers, including Edward Nero and Garrett Miller, are charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. Lt. Brian Rice, Sgt. Alicia White and Officer William Porter also face a manslaughter charge, while Officer Caesar Goodson faces the most serious charge of all: second-degree "depraved-heart" murder.
Three of the officers are white. Three are black.