Protesters March to Inner Harbor Demanding Justice in First Day of Freddie Gray Case
Lack of accountability among concerns as juror selection of trial of officer Williams Porter continues into early evening.
[Footage of protesters]
STEPHEN JANIS, TRNN: My name is Stephen Janis. I’m a reporter for the Real News Network in Baltimore. We’re at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore City where we’re following a protest that occurred shortly after the first day of trial for the Freddie Gray case, which includes six officers. Today’s trial of William Porter started with jury selection. We’re here with Jaisal Noor, we’ve been following the protest. Jaisal, you had some updates from the court.
JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: Yes. So at around 5:40 the jury was dismissed from the courtroom today. They had been questioned all day, since about 11:00 AM by Judge Barry Williams and the attorneys. And we do not know what happened behind those closed doors. But at the end of this long day, and normally a jury’s dismissed at 4:30, they stayed longer. At the end of this long day the judge said some of them will be notified to return on Wednesday, and the others will have been struck from the jury pool. And tomorrow, Tuesday, there’ll be a new jury pool being questioned to join, to join the trial.
JANIS: So it raises a good question. Was anybody let go from the jury that you know of, anybody dismissed for any reason whatsoever?
NOOR: Absolutely. There is no indication that any jurors have been dismissed. They are going to be notified privately whether they’re chosen or not for the jury. So right now we know nothing besides the fact that they were questioned behind closed doors.
JANIS: What kind of pool are we talking about? How many jurors were there that were being considered?
NOOR: About 75 today. And according to our source within the system, within the court system, another 75 will be questioned again tomorrow.
JANIS: Okay. So we’re here right now, we’re talking to Jaisal Noor, who was in the courtroom today. As you can see behind us, a protest led by Tawanda Jones, whose brother was killed in police custody three years ago, has been marching down to the Inner Harbor to let people know if there is not justice there will be no peace. Why do you think this is occurring now?
NOOR: Well, if you ask the protesters, you know, they want to keep the pressure up on the court system. Make sure Freddie Gray does get justice, that’s what their chants are. And they’re calling for way more than those six cops to get indicted. They’re calling for a radical change in the criminal justice system here in Baltimore.
JANIS: Well, talking to people, do you believe–do you think they believe the justice system is holding people accountable right now, especially police?
NOOR: I think this is going to be a test. But we’ve seen around the country indictments are not enough. And convicting single officers when the entire system that protesters say is guilty, you know, just individual officers are not going to change the culture of the system.
PROTESTER: They try to make all these police brutality acts seem like they’re isolated incidents. Everybody knows it’s systemic. It’s happening all around the world. Enough’s enough. We’re tired of going city to city, state to state, trying to say [inaud.] family members. Because at the end of the day while everybody’s sleeping at home we are crying. No one can console us. No one knows the pain. I can’t even feel happy. So I can imagine Freddie Gray’s mom.
PROTESTER: [Inaud.] the police brutality, and we’re sick of it. This terror that we’re going through. This terror. We don’t know anything about Al-Qaeda. We don’t know anything about Saddam Hussein. We don’t know anything about the Taliban. But what we do know something about is Baltimore City police officers. We know something about terrorists who are badged, who are killing unarmed African-American men.
PROTESTER: I read a part of the Letter from a Birmingham Jail today. That thing was written over half a century ago and is still relevant right now. In that letter Martin Luther King wrote about moderate white Americans, and that they are the real problem. And I’m going to change that, because now that we’ve had desegregation, that’s not just white people there who are the moderates now. They’re white people, Hispanic people, all kinds of people up in there. And they [forget]. Like, we’ve got a City Hall right now that looks like us, and they don’t give a shit about us. And so let’s not forget that those moderates that he was talking about in that letter, he was talking about our people now, or people that we wish were our people, because they’re not really our people.
PROTESTER: They tell you that there’s more things that you could be fighting, like black-on-black crime. However, upon looking at this case, I see that Freddie Gray is a black man, and on trial today is another black man. So as far as I’m concerned this is black-on-black crime.
[Footage of protesters]
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