Schools postpone Baltimore field trips

BALTIMORE (AP) — As a Baltimore jury deliberates in the manslaughter trial of a city police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a neighboring school system is avoiding field trips in the city.

Baltimore County Public School spokesman Mychael Dickerson said Tuesday that the school system is postponing, and in some cases canceling, field trips and events in Baltimore city through Friday. The county surrounds most of the city and extends north to Maryland's border with Pennsylvania.

Dickerson says the precaution is being taken after officials consulted with law enforcement partners.

Dickerson says the school system took similar steps in the spring, when unrest broke out in the city after Gray's death.

A judge has denied defense motions for a mistrial and change of venue as the jury deliberates in the manslaughter trial of a Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

Circuit Judge Barry Williams said Tuesday the renewed motions were not appropriate at this stage of Officer William Porter's trial.

The judge also denied a defense request to ask jurors whether they have seen a letter that the city schools chief sent home with children, warning of consequences for violent responses to the eventual verdict.

The jury sent out notes asking for water, highlighters, sticky notes and paper. They also requested the clerk's list of exhibits in evidence.

Gray died April 19, a week after his neck was broken in the back of a police van with his wrists and ankles shackled. Porter is charged with manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct.

Tuesday is the second day of deliberations. The panel spent three hours deliberating Monday.

Gray died April 19, a week after his neck was broken in the back of a police van with his wrists and ankles shackled. The autopsy concluded that the injury most likely came as Gray was slammed against a wall during cornering or braking.

Porter is charged with manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct. Prosecutors say he should have buckled Gray in and called a medic after the 25-year-old man said he needed help.

Porter's lawyers say he's not to blame for Gray's death.

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