Washington - A judge Wednesday rejected a motion to dismiss criminal charges against six Baltimore police officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died of severe injuries suffered in police custody.
Defense lawyers had asked that the charges be dropped and that prosecutor Marilyn Mosby be recused from the case, claiming prosecutorial misconduct.
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But Judge Barry Williams quashed both motions in his first pre-trial hearings in a case that set off violent protests, looting and arson earlier this year, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Police said one man was arrested as a small group of protesters formed and briefly attempted to block traffic.
The officers face trial next month on charges that range from second degree "heart depraved" murder, in the case of one officer, to involuntary manslaughter, assault and misconduct.
The six have pleaded not guilty.
Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12 and apparently suffered a severed spine while being transported handcuffed and shackled in a police van. He died a week later.
The medical examiner declared his death a homicide and Mosby, Baltimore state's prosecutor, brought charges.
The most serious charge, second degree murder, carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison, while the manslaughter charges can bring sentences of up to 10 years in prison.
The case is one of a series that have trained a spotlight on harsh police tactics in minority communities in America.