The judge in the trial of Baltimore Police Officer William Porter has declared a mistrial, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Porter is the first of six officers to be tried in the death of Freddie Gray.
The trial lasted 11 days, with closing arguments held on Monday. The 12-member jury, made up of four black women, three black men, three white women and two white men, deliberated for more than three days.
Porter, who is black, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. The jury was hung on all charges.
Five other officers – Caesar Goodson, Garret Miller, Edward Nero, Brian Rice and Alicia White – were also charged in Gray’s death. They are all being tried separately.
Gray, 25, died on April 19, 2015, seven days after he suffered a severe spinal cord injury while being transported to jail in a police van. Prosecutors said he died as a result of a “rough ride,” alleging that officers failed to properly restrain Gray, who had been. His death and arrest, parts of which were recorded on cell phone cameras, led to several days of protests in Baltimore. The city settled a lawsuit filed by Gray’s family for $6.4 million.
Here’s what you need to know about the Porter trial and verdict:
1. The State’s Attorney Will Try the Case Again
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby will re-try the case. A new trial date will be set on Thursday.
The jury told Judge Barry Williams on Tuesday that it was deadlocked. He sent them back to deliberate more, but on Wednesday they announced they were still hung on all four counts against Porter.
A total of 28 witnesses were heard and about 100 pieces of evidence were presented during the trial, according to the Associated Press. The trial began on November 30.
There is a gag order in the case, meaning the prosecutors and defense attorneys are not allowed to talk to the media about the case until after all six trials are completed.
2. Police Cancelled Officer Leave in Anticipation of Protests
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis cancelled all leave for officers in anticipation of a trial verdict.
“The community has an expectation for us to be prepared for a variety of scenarios,” Davis said, according to CBS Baltimore. “This cancellation is part of preparedness, just as our ongoing community collaboration efforts.”
The department is bracing for possible protests after the mistrial was declared.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement after the judge’s ruling, “This is our American system of justice. Twelve Baltimore residents listened to the evidence presented and were unable to render a unanimous decision. As a unified city, we must respect the outcome of the judicial process. In the coming days, if some choose to demonstrate peacefully to express their opinion, that is their constitutional right. 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. In the case of any disturbance in the city, we are prepared to respond. We will protect our neighborhoods, our businesses and the people of our city.”
Protesters gathered outside of the courthouse on Wednesday.
Arrests were made as sheriff’s told the protesters to clear the area.
3. Prosecutors Said Porter Failed to Secure Gray in the Van & Did Not Provide Him Medial Aic
Prosecutors argued that Porter failed to properly secure Gray in the transport van by not following department procedure to seatbelt him in.
They also said that Porter did not get medical aid for Gray after he asked multiple times for help.
“Freddie Gray went into the van healthy and he came out of the van dead,” said prosecutor Janice Bledsoe in her closing argument, according to The Associated Press. She said the van “became his casket on wheels.”
4. Porter’s Defense Claimed He Didn’t Think Gray Was Seriously Injured
Porter’s defense team claimed that he acted as a “reasonable” police officer would and did not know Gray was seriously injured, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Porter’s defense attorney Joseph Murtha called Gray’s death a “horrific tragedy,” but said there “is literally no evidence” Porter was responsible, The Associated Press reported.
The defense also tried to have the trial moved outside of Baltimore, saying Porter could not receive a fair trial after the attention Gray’s death received in the city.
5. Van Driver Caesar Goodson Is the Next Officer Set for Trial
The mistrial will delay the next scheduled trial. Officer Caesar Goodson, the driver of the van in which Gray died, is set to go on trial in January 2016. He faces the most serious charge out of all the officers, second-degree depraved heart murder.
Prosecutors chose to try Porter first because they plan to call him as a witness in at least two of the other trials.
The trials are expected to continue into March 2016 with each officer tried individually.
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