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Baltimore Sun

Judge Rules Identities Of Jurors In Freddie Gray Trial Will Remain Concealed

The jurors assigned to the case involving one of the officers who killed Freddie Gray are set to withhold their names, rules a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge. 

With the coming trial of Officer William G. Porter – one of the six officers responsible for the death of 25 year-old Freddie Gray back in April – on the horizon, intense media scrutiny has flooded the case. So much so, that a judge ruled on Tuesday (Nov. 24) that jurors participating in the case will remain anonymous.

The jury selection is set to start on Monday (Nov. 30), according to The New York Times. In doing so, Judge Barry G. Williams of Baltimore City Circuit Court found that the jury could be subjected to “undue harassment” if their names were released. However, he did deny a request from defense lawyers to isolate the jurors on the case

Yet for the pre-trial motions in Officer Porter’s case, the judge will allow members of the jury to watch two cell phone video clips of Gray’s arrest. One which shows how he was shackled as he was taken into the police van, which prosecutors say is what caused the spinal injury that led to his death. The judge also said he would let the jurors inspect the van.

Despite all the access the judicial system is granting jurors, legal experts say that prosecutors will face some upcoming obstacles in proving their cases against all the officers. They say the first trial is the determining factor in the rest of the cases that follow. Some even go ahead to say that Officer Porter may withdrawl from trial all together, and just have Judge Williams decide his fate.

“When officers have been charged with this kind of misconduct, they have traditionally waived the jury, tried the case in front of a judge — and tended to be successful,” said David Jaros, a law professor at the University of Baltimore, who has kept a watchful eye on the case since its inception.

This trials comes after seven months of Freddie Gray’s death. Officer Porter is facing charges manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment, but has pleaded not guilty on all counts. Reportedly, officers are preparing for a tumultuous time if Officer Porter is acquitted.

Let’s hope justice will be served.

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South Carolina Baby Dies In Burning Car After Father Abandons Car In Police Chase

A South Carolina man has been charged with homicide by child abuse after police say he fled his vehicle that burst into flames killing his year old daughter.

Wearing an orange jumpsuit, Imhotep Osiris Norman reportedly broke down in tears during his bond hearing Saturday. (April 13)

According to law enforcement at about 10:20 PM Friday, a state trooper with the South Carolina Highway Patrol attempted to pull Norman over on Highway 14 near the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.

Norman was doing 67 mph in a 45-mph zone.

When the car didn't stop. Seventh Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette said Norman's vehicle began to spark and smoke during the pursuit.

As the car approached the 58-mile marker on Interstate 85, troopers say they saw a large bag be thrown from the window. A few minutes later, the car was totally engulfed in flames. The car reportedly slowed down and troopers attempted to block the road before Norman escaped.

After the fire extinguished investigators found Norman's 1-year-old daughter, Xena Rah’Lah Norman dead in the backseat.

In court, Norman alleges he didn't know the car was on fire.  “I would never leave my daughter,” Norman said. “I would have gotten my daughter out of that car.”

Norman's mother Sharon Mathesis said she doesn't believe the cops version of events. “My son loved his daughter and would have never let this happen,” Mathis said. “He loved her so much. He loved her so much.”

If convicted, Norman faces 20 years in prison.

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FLINT, MI - FEBRUARY 7: The Flint River with downtown behind is shown on February 7, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. Months ago the city told citizens they could use tap water if they boiled it first, but now say it must be filtered to remove lead. (Photo by Sarah Rice/Getty Images)
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Flint Receives Remaining $77.7 Million Of Federal Funds To Improve Water Infrastructure

As the city of Flint, Mich. marks the five-year anniversary of the Flint Water Crisis, the city is set to receive $77.7 million in federal funding.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced the funding Monday (April 15),  as part of a $140 million loan to be allocated to Flint, East Lansing and Monroe County.  The funds for Flint are the remaining portion of a $120 million loan granted to the city in 2017, Mlive reports.

“While we are grateful for this funding it’s important to understand it's not new funding,” said Flint’s Director of Public Works Rob Bincsik. “The federal government awarded this funding and is utilizing the MDEQ’s Drinking Water Revolving Fund as the mechanism to disperse it to the City of Flint.”

Flint won’t have to pay back the funding as the loan is being offered at a “zero percent interest rate with 100-percent principal loan forgiveness.” The funds, which are aimed at improving infrastructure needs and ensuring long-term water quality,” will cover “the completion of a secondary water source pipeline,” in addition to improvements of reservoir and pump stations, construction of a chemical feed building, and replacement of water mains and meters.

East Lansing will receive a $51.7 million loan that includes $2.1 million in “principal forgiveness funds” for collection system improvements, a new pump station, and upgrades to the Water Resource Recovery Facility. Monroe County will get $10.2 million to upgrade and repair the Bedford Township Wastewater Treatment Plant. The funds will also support rehabbing lineal sewer pipes.

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Spartanburg County Detention Center via AP

Man Sentenced To 10 Years For Hiring Someone To Lynch His Black Neighbor

A white South Carolina man has been sentenced to 10 years inside a federal prison for hiring someone to lynch his black neighbor and place a burning cross on the lawn.

According to the New York Times, Brandon Cory Lecroy, 26 (pictured above) was arrested last year after the FBI received a tip about his plans. Lecroy reportedly contacted an unidentified white supremacist organization to assist with the murder-for-hire but instead was approached by an undercover FBI agent posing as a hitman.

The agent reportedly told Lecroy over the phone "$500 and he's a ghost." According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Lecroy made a down payment of $100 and was then taken into custody.

The South Carolina United States attorney's office said Lecroy received the maximum sentence on Friday (April 12) after pleading guilty, as well as three years supervision.

In March 2018, Lecroy went as far as texting an image of the intended targets to the FBI agent and offering the best possible times for the murder. His motive for the murder was to control his neighbor's property. Lecroy also suggested the agent use an  “a ghost gun,”  or an untraceable 9mm.

The names of the intended victim or the FBI agent have not been released.

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