Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Freddie Gray: William Porter Jury is Deadlocked

The Baltimore Sun reports that:
Judge Barry G. Williams on Tuesday ordered a deadlocked jury back to work, asking them to try harder to reach a consensus on Officer William G. Porter's guilt or innocence in the death of Freddie Gray.

The 12-member panel is charged with reaching a verdict on four charges against Porter: involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. If they cannot, Williams will be forced to declare a mistrial on the undecided counts, leaving it to prosecutors to decide whether to retry the case.

After 10 hours of deliberations that began Monday afternoon, jury members sent a note to Williams on Tuesday afternoon indicating that they were deadlocked. The panel did not elaborate on whether the members were split on one, some or all of the charges, or which way they were leaning.

Williams, meeting the jurors in open court, instructed them to return to deliberations. He read from a portion of the jury instructions that said the members must come to a unanimous decision in order to reach a conviction or acquittal. Jurors then deliberated for about two more hours before breaking for the day.

They will return Wednesday morning.

The weight of their work in a secluded jury room within the Baltimore Circuit Court could be felt throughout the city.

Gray, 25, suffered a broken neck and severe spinal cord injury in the back of a police transport van after his arrest on April 12. His death a week later prompted widespread protests against police brutality, and his funeral was followed by the most intense rioting and looting in the city since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby charged Porter and five other officers in Gray's arrest and death on May 1, and many have watched the proceedings in Porter's trial closely.
As reported on CBS Baltimore, "out of the 12 jurors chosen, eight are women, four are men; five are African American women, three are African American men, three are white women and one is a white man."

I wonder if the jury is divided along racial lines. Hopefully, the jury will make progress and render a fair and just verdict soon. In order for this City to heal, we need justice for Freddie Gray. No justice, no peace.

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