Judge declares mistrial in case of officer charged in Freddie Gray case

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Following deadlock, Baltimore jury resumes deliberations for third day in trial of officer accused in Freddie Gray’s death.

Nearly 24 hours after announcing they were deadlocked in deliberations, a Baltimore jury has declared a mistrial in the trial of William Porter, one of six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams issued the ruling after the jury of seven women and five men was unable to each a verdict after about 16 hours of deliberations.

City officials are fearful that the verdict in the William Porter case could potentially reignite riots, which were sparked by Gray’s death after he was fatally injured in police custody in April. Porter also was charged with second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office over Gray’s death in April from a broken neck suffered in a police van.

One signs states “justice for Freddie Gray — convict the killer cops and send them to jail!” Other placards show Gray’s image, highlighting a death that has fueled heated discourse about police treatment and civil rights. Deliberations began Monday following tense closing arguments in which prosecutors said it would have taken two clicks for Porter to save Gray’s life — one click to buckle the man into a seatbelt in the back of a police transport van, and another click to call into his police radio for an ambulance.

The police department canceled leave for all officers this week while Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake opened an emergency operations center and pleaded for calm. Attorney Joseph Murtha called Gray’s April death a “horrific tragedy” but said that “there is literally no evidence” that Porter’s actions caused Gray’s fatal injuries.

But the Maryland Transportation Administration warned bus and rail riders that route diversions were possible if protests clog the city. “MTA is closely monitoring the Officer Porter trial and travel conditions downtown and will adjust services as necessary due to the potential for heavy pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic,” MTA said in a statement. Porter testified last week that he was in the van for most of the 45-minute ride between the site of Gray’s arrest and the Western District police station. Prosecutors say Porter was criminally negligent for failing to buckle Gray into a seat belt and for not calling an ambulance when he indicated he needed medical aid.

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