Thursday, December 17, 2015

Freddie Gray: A Mistrial Declared in the William Porter Case

The Baltimore Sun reports that:

A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case of Baltimore Police Officer William G. Porter after jurors said they had failed to reach an agreement on any of the charges against him in the death of Freddie Gray.

The decision, which came a day after jurors told Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams they were deadlocked, frustrated activists who had watched the first trial in Gray's death closely. Outside the downtown courtroom, city officials and community leaders pleaded for calm, and authorities reported two arrests, but no violence or serious disruptions.

Porter, 26, the first of six police officers to be tried in Gray's death, remains charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Gray, 25, died in April after suffering a severe spinal cord injury in the back of a police van.

Jurors deliberated for three days before Williams declared the mistrial. The decision now throws the other trials into flux.

Prosecutors chose to try Porter first, planning to use him as a witness at the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson. Goodson, who is charged with second-degree murder, was slated for trial in the first week of January.

fter the mistrial, attorneys were to meet with Williams Thursday about scheduling a new trial for Porter.

Gray's family said they were hopeful prosecutors would retry Porter. Gray's stepfather, Richard Shipley, said jurors "did the best that they could," while Gray's twin sister, Fredericka, joined protesters.

The Gray family's attorney said, "This saga is not over."

"This hung jury does not mean it's the end of Officer Porter's case," attorney Billy Murphy said. "It's just a bump on the road to justice. And you know the road to justice has a lot of bumps."
Some of the protesters do not share Mr. Murphy's optimism.

The Mayor said that we must respect for the outcome of the judicial process. I disagree.

We do not have to respect a system that denies us justice. We do not have to respect a system that callously disregards our black lives. We will only respect a system that respects us. The protests must continue until justice prevails. Justice for Freddie Gray.

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