Baltimore: Freddie Gray case sees hung jury in police officer’s trial

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Mistrial declared in Freddie Gray case after Baltimore jury fails to reach verdict.

Authorities in Baltimore have appealed for calm after the first effort to convict an officer over the death of a man in a police van ended with a hung jury and a mistrial. Dozens of protesters marched through the streets of Baltimore following the declaration of a mistrial in the Freddie Grey case – the black man whose death in police custody sparked riots in April The jury which was composed of seven black and five white people, failed to reach a verdict over Officer William Porter’s alleged involvement.Despite two people being arrested by the Baltimore Sheriff’s Office and multiple attempts to block traffic, demonstrations were calm and peaceful—exactly what everyone was hoping for.

Crowds protested along streets in the Maryland city lined with police but the situation was quiet at the junction where the worst rioting happened in April as parts of West Baltimore were set on fire. Freddie Gray’s death following his April arrest touched off days of unrest in Baltimore — and put his case at the forefront of the Black Lives Matter movement. While some tried blocking traffic, officers stood shoulder to shoulder, making sure demonstrators remained lawful, before they spilled over to City Hall. William Porter’s mistrial is a setback for prosecutors trying to respond to a population frustrated by violent crime and allegations of police misconduct.

About 30 protesters chanting “send those killer cops to jail” outside the court changed gear after the mistrial was announced, chanting “No justice, no peace!” and “Black lives matter”. Collectively, our reaction needs to be one of respect for our neighborhoods.” Within minutes of the mistrial ruling, a throng of uniformed officers ringed the courthouse. He was accused of failing to get medical help for critically-injured Mr Gray and was charged with manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment, carrying maximum sentences totalling 25 years.

They pushed back a group of a few dozen protesters and arrested at least two people, one of whom appeared to swing at an officer. “We ask the public to remain calm and patient,” said Gray’s stepfather, Richard Shipley. “We are confident there will be another trial with a different jury. Lawyer Billy Murphy, who obtained a $6.4 million-dollar settlement for Mr Gray’s family from the city before Mr Porter’s trial, called the mistrial “a temporary bump on the road to justice”. The officer’s lawyer argued that Porter may not have been aware of department policy mandating that detainees be seat-belted, which was put into place shortly before Gray’s arrest. The panel said Tuesday that it was hung after just one day, but Judge Barry Williams sent jurors back for another day of deliberations before declaring a mistrial. “They’re only disappointed that there was no verdict,” Murphy said of the family. “They want justice. Prosecutors argued that Mr Porter, who was present at five of the van’s six stops, was criminally negligent for ignoring his department’s policy requiring officers to seat-belt prisoners and for not calling an ambulance even though Mr Gray repeatedly said he needed medical help.

The defence said Mr Porter went beyond the call of duty when he moved Mr Gray to a seated position at one point, and told the van driver and a supervisor that Mr Gray had said “yes” when asked if he needed to go to a hospital.

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