High stakes for Baltimore as Freddie Gray trials begin

FILE - In this April 28, 2015 file photo, police stand in formation as a curfew approache in Baltimore, a day after unrest that occurred following Freddie Gray's funeral. On the campaign trail, among candidates of both parties, the idea of locking up drug criminals for life is a lot less popular than it was a generation ago. The 2016 presidential race has accelerated an evolution away from the traditional tough-on-crime candidate. A Republican Party that’s long taken a law-and-order stance finds itself desperate to improve its standing among minority voters while Democratic candidates are also being drawn into national conversations on policing, drug crimes and prison costs. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore’s police chief says “the future of the city is at stake” as the first trial in the death of Freddie Gray gets underway.

Six police officers were indicted in connection to Gray’s death April 19. Gray was a 25-year-old black man who was critically injured in the back of a police transport van.

Jury selection for Officer William Porter’s trial begins Monday. He faces charges of assault, manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Porter is accused of checking on Gray several times but not getting him any help.

The verdict in the first trial will set the tone for the rest: If Porter is acquitted, there could be protests and possibly more unrest like last spring.

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis says “everything is at stake.”

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