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Officers charged in Freddie Gray death file motions to suppress initial statements; claim duress

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Defense attorneys for three of the police officers charged in the murder of Freddie Gray have filed motions to have their clients’ statements to investigators suppressed. The three defendants, Lt. Brian W. Rice, Officer William G. Porter and Sgt. Alicia D. White, claim that they were not advised of their rights prior to their interrogations.

These three defendants made the same motion to suppress their statements that was previously made by two other defendants, Officers Garrett E. Miller and Edward M. Nero. These two defendants motioned to suppress their statements because their statements were made under duress. This leaves the sixth defendant, Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., as the only one who has not challenged the use of his statements in court. He is also the only defendant who did not give a statement to investigators early on in the investigation.

In their motions, attorneys for Rice and Porter argued that “because the defendants subjectively felt that any refusal to cooperate in the investigation would result in their termination, and such belief was objectively reasonable, and because they were asked to waive their Fifth Amendment rights,” their statements should be suppressed.

DailyMail.com reports that White’s attorney has also argued that she was not read her Miranda rights before being interrogated by investigators. White’s attorneys also argued that because the initial statement was taken under duress, her second statement to investigators given five days later cannot be used either. All three defendants claim that they were not aware that they were under investigation at the time they made their statements, and were lead to believe they were only being questioned as witnesses to the incident.

Of the six total officers charged in the death of Gray, five of them have requested to be tried separately. The sixth defendant, Goodson, will be tried separately if the other officers’ requests are granted. According to The Baltimore Sun, prosecutors would like to try Goodson, White, Nero and Miller in one trial, and Rice and Porter in another.

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