Update at 11:52 a.m. ET. Judge Denies Two Key Motions:
A judge in Baltimore handed prosecutors two pretrial victories on Wednesday in relation to the Freddie Gray case, a 25-year-old man who died after suffering injuries in police custody.
NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports that the judge rejected a motion to dismiss charges against six police officers who were allegedly involved in Gray's arrest and death. And the judge also dismissed a motion that sought to remove Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby from the case.
Later in the day, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams also ordered separate trials for the officers.
Wednesday was the first day of hearings on the case. It's been a day marked by protests and tension in a city that saw days of protests and one night of riots following Gray's death.
Our Original Post Continues:
A court in Baltimore will begin hearings today on the death of a 25-year-old black man.
Six police officers have been charged in the arrest and the subsequent death of Freddie Gray.
NPR's Jennifer Ludden filed this report for our Newscast unit:
"Riots erupted last April after Gray died of a severe spinal injury. That happened while Gray was being transported in the back of a police van.
"The driver is charged with second degree murder, three others with manslaughter, and two more officers with lesser charges.
"Today's hearing will consider pre-trial motions calling for the case to be dismissed, and for the state's attorney to be recused. At issue is also whether the six officers will face trial next month together, or separately. Next week, another hearing will consider whether to move the trial out of Baltimore."
The Baltimore Sun reports that activists staged protests at the courthouse and across the city as the hearings began.
"Our message is pretty obvious. Do not drop the charges. No change in venue. Do not recuse Marilyn Mosby," Sharon Black, of the Baltimore People's Power Assembly, told the Sun.
Mosby is the Baltimore state's attorney who catapulted into the national spotlight after she announced charges against the officer at a dramatic and emotional press conference.
The Gray case resulted in one night of riots and days of peaceful protests in Baltimore.
In May, the Justice Department, prompted by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, opened a civil rights investigation into the Baltimore Police Department.
Update at 11:44 a.m. ET. Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Charges:
The AP just moved this alert:
"Judge denies motion to dismiss charges against 6 police officers in death of black man."
NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports that the judge also denied a motion to remove the state's attorney from the case.
Update at 10:07 a.m. ET. One Protester Arrested:
NPR's Evie Stone, who is in Baltimore, reports that protesters outside the hearing marched through downtown Baltimore.
Some protesters blocked a street and the helicopter above called for their dispersal. One of them was arrested, Evie reports.
Evie says she saw police put a taser on the protester's back, but she was not sure if it had been deployed. Police put the protester in a police van and eventually moved him to an ambulance.