The Montgomery County Department of Police plans to send approximately 50 officers to Baltimore Wednesday to provide assistance to Baltimore police as groups plan protests to coincide with a court hearing in the controversial Freddie Gray case.
The six Baltimore police officers charged in the April death of Gray, a black man who was injured and later died while in police custody, are scheduled to appear Wednesday morning in front of a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge. The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., and key motions are expected to be heard, including a defense motion to dismiss the case.
Montgomery County police spokesman Rick Goodale wrote in an email that the local officers will only be deployed if needed and will be under the direction of the Baltimore Police Department.
The county will be sending officers from the Special Event Response Team that have received specialized training to manage crowds and civil disturbance, according to Capt. Paul Starks.
The hearing is the first in which the state and the officers’ defense team will publicly discuss the legal questions involved in the case, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The six officers were charged with crimes ranging from second-degree depraved-heart murder to second-degree assault based on their level of alleged involvement in the death of Gray. The 25-year-old man died from a spinal cord injury that prosecutors say he suffered at the hands of police while riding in the back of a Baltimore police van April 12.
Wednesday marks at least the third time Montgomery County has sent its officers to assist the Baltimore police as the Gray case has played out. The county also sent officers as protests and riots broke out over several days in late April after Gray’s death. About 40 county officers played a major role on the front lines of the riots that broke out April 27, the day of Gray’s funeral.
This story was updated at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday after additional information was provided by Montgomery County Police