Officer’s Mistrial in Gray’s Death a Letdown for Both Sides

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AP News in Brief at 1:37 a.m. EST.

BALTIMORE — A mistrial was declared on Wednesday in the case of a Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a black man whose killing while in custody sparked riots in April, and the city’s mayor urged calm. The judge dismissed the jury in the involuntary manslaughter trial of officer William Porter — the first of six officers to be tried in Gray’s death — after 16 hours of deliberations during which the jurors were unable to reach a verdict on any of the charges against the policeman.

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. Officer Porter was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment in associated with the 25-year-old Gray’s death.

William Porter’s mistrial is a setback for prosecutors trying to respond to a population frustrated by violent crime and allegations of police misconduct. Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow argued that Officer Porter, 26, had “criminally neglected his duty to keep Mr Gray safe,” according to NBC News. On Wednesday, scores of protesters marched through downtown Baltimore following the ruling, chanting “we have nothing to lose but our chains” and “the whole damn system is guilty as Hell.” Uniformed police officers took up positions throughout the city, including by the courthouse and police headquarters, and at least two demonstrators were arrested. Another group of protesters gathered in Gray’s neighbourhood, near where a drug store was burnt during the rioting, where they expressed disappointment at the outcome.

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”. Homicides have soared and the pressure on city officials has been unrelenting since Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged six officers in Gray’s death. Gray’s family and officials, including Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, called for calm, eager to avoid a replay of the unrest that followed Gray’s death. Freddie Gray’s death from a broken neck, suffered while the 25-year-old was transported in the back of a police van, became a flash point in a national debate over police use of force, especially against black men.

The officer’s attorneys had argued that Mr Porter may have been unaware of department policy mandating that detainees be seat-belted, which was put into place shortly before Gray’s arrest. In the coming days, if some choose to demonstrate peacefully to express their opinion, that is their constitutional right,” she said. “I urge everyone to remember that collectively, our reaction needs to be one of respect for our neighborhoods, and for the residents and businesses of our city.

WASHINGTON (AP) — For anyone considering whether to buy a home or car, the Federal Reserve’s interest rate increase Wednesday shouldn’t make much difference. Baltimore officials had come under heavy criticism for a restrained initial response to the rioting, which some observers contended allowed arson and looting to spiral out of control.

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 death and its aftermath followed the police killings of black men in cities including Ferguson, Missouri, and New York, which also sparked protests, helping to spark the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. And the Fed made clear it will assess the economy’s health before raising rates further. “Loans that are linked to longer-term interest rates are unlikely to move very much,” Fed Chair Janet Yellen said at a news conference. “Credit card rates … might move up slightly.

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. Carter took office in February. “After reviewing his email practices earlier this year, the secretary believes that his previous, occasional use of personal email for work-related business, even for routine administrative issues and backed up to his official account, was a mistake,” Cook wrote. “As a result, he stopped such use of his personal email and further limited his use of email altogether.” HAVANA (AP) — The United States and Cuba are on the verge of a deal to restore regular airline flights, jumpstarting economic relations that have languished despite a year of rapid progress on the diplomatic front, Cuba’s top negotiator said on the eve of the anniversary of detente between the Cold War foes. The deal being thrashed out at marathon talks in Washington would open the way for U.S. airlines to negotiate with Cuba’s government for routes that could bring thousands more visitors a day to the island. The reestablishment of commercial U.S. flights to Cuba after half a century would be the biggest business development since the two countries began normalizing relations last year. LOS ANGELES (AP) — One day after a debate clash with Jeb Bush, Donald Trump said he’s been “a little bit divisive” and wants to see Republicans come together.

In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night show Wednesday, the GOP presidential candidate looked relaxed as Kimmel queried him about campaign issues. The Department of Veterans Affairs has agreed to pay for robotic legs that could allow scores of paralyzed veterans with spinal cord injuries to walk again. VA officials told The Associated Press that that the agency sent a memorandum Dec. 10 outlining its plans to train staff to be able to provide the ReWalk. “The research support and effort to provide eligible veterans with paralysis an exoskeleton for home use is a historic move on the part of the VA because it represents a paradigm shift in the approach to rehabilitation for persons with paralysis,” said Dr.

The company, ReWalk Robotics, said it has evaluated 45 paralyzed veterans who meet the height and weight requirements for the technology — which consists of leg braces with motion sensors and motorized joints that respond to subtle changes in upper-body movement and shifts in balance. NEW YORK (AP) — Congress may have declined to ban the sale of guns to people on federal terrorism watch lists, but one state — New Jersey — has, at least theoretically, been stopping such purchases since 2013. But the system could potentially serve as a model for a handful of other states, including New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois and California, where lawmakers have been exploring ways to restrict sales without an act of Congress. Buyers in New Jersey, however, also are rejected if the applicant’s name appears on the NCIC’s “known or appropriately suspected terrorist” list, one of several such terror watch lists maintained by U.S. law enforcement. This is the story of one of those victims: Shortly after police raided the Gig Peeling Factory last month for labor abuses, undocumented child workers were taken to a corner of the shed where they squatted on wet concrete slick with slime from the shrimp they had peeled.

CHICAGO (AP) — A professor at a suburban Chicago Christian college who has been placed on administrative leave after donning a headscarf to demonstrate solidarity with Muslims said Wednesday that her actions are demonstrations of her own faith. Larycia Hawkins, who is a Christian and an associate professor of political science at Wheaton College, a private evangelical school west of Chicago, was put on leave Tuesday. In recent days, she began wearing a hijab, the headscarf worn by some Muslim women, to counter what she called the “vitriolic” rhetoric against Muslims in recent weeks. “In the spirit of Advent, my actions were motivated by a desire to live out my faith. China’s 1-0 victory on Wednesday night — the U.S. team’s first home loss in more than a decade — wasn’t going to diminish the triumphant nature of Wambach’s extraordinary career. “Tonight is a celebration,” Wambach asserted. “The result, obviously, is annoying. This result doesn’t shape or determine or define my career.” Wambach said her teammates apologized profusely to her afterward, but she told them, “There’s nothing to be sorry about.

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